This is the fourth installment in the Best of Michigan Basketball series. Here I will profile the 10 Best Power Forwards in the history of Michigan Basketball.
#11 – DeShawn Sims: Sims was a two-time winner of the Bill Buntin team MVP Award. He earned All-Big Ten honors three times in his career; Second-Team in both his junior and senior seasons, was Honorable Mention as a sophomore.
Only 3 Michigan players (Loy Vaught, Glen Rice, and Courtney Sims) have played in more career games than Sims (132). He also played in 129 consecutive games.
He finished his career ranked 16th on the All-Time scoring list with 1584 points and 13th on the All-Time rebounding list with 728 boards.
Sims is 1 of just 7 Wolverines to top 1,500 career points and 600 career rebounds.
He is 1 of just 9 Michigan players to have over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 100 steals in their career. He is the only player in school history to have 3 career 500 point seasons and 3 career 40 steal seasons.
Sims knocked down 633 field goals during his career which ranks him 9th on the school’s All-Time list.
Sims was named the Big Ten Player of the Week 3 times in his career.
Sims was a key component on the 2008-09 team that went 21-14 and tied a school record for the largest single-season turnaround in program history. That team also broke Michigan’s 11 year NCAA Tournament drought and advanced to the second round of the tournament.
Sims averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He bumped it up to 15.4 and 6.8 as a junior and topped out at 16.8 points and 7.6 per game as a senior.
Sims tallied 13 double-doubles in his career.
#10 – Maurice Taylor: Taylor earned All-Big Ten honors in each of his three seasons at Michigan (1994-97). Taylor was a second team All-Big Ten selection in 1996, third team in 1997, and honorable mention in 1995. He left school after his junior season to pursue a career in the NBA. Taylor’s records and accomplishments have been stricken from the record books due to NCAA sanctions.
Taylor averaged 12.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg over the course of his career. He finished up his Michigan tenure with 1262 points and 599 rebounds.
He is one of 25 Michigan players to eclipse 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
Taylor was the 1995 Big Ten Freshmen of the Year.
Taylor was selected in the first round (14th overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played in the NBA for 9 seasons.
#9 – Tom Cole: A three-time All-Big Ten selection (third team 1962, honorable mention 1961, 63), Cole was an excellent player during his Wolverine career (1960-63). Cole ranks 15th on Michigan’s All-Time rebounding list with 684 career rebounds. Cole’s career average of 9.50 rpg ranks 8th on Michigan’s all-time list. He averaged 13.7 points per game in his career.
Cole led Michigan in free throw shooting percentage in back-to-back seasons. He also holds the school record for made free throws in a game with 17 in a 1962 game against Indiana (he was 17-18).
Cole was the first player in school history to record 3 seasons of 200 rebounds. Since he accomplished that feat 10 other players have joined him in reaching the milestone.
Cole racked up 30 double-doubles in his career which ranks him 7th on the all-time list.
#8 – Thad Garner: An excellent all-around player, Garner was also a tremendous leader during his Michigan career (1978-82). He was a two-time team captain. Garner scored 1,039 points in his career and he hauled down 602 rebounds. He was also a hustling, hard working defensive player. Garner ranks 7th in school history with 142 career steals. His steals per game average of 1.28 also ranks 7th on the all-time list.
In his sophomore season garner averaged 1.70 spg, which is the 10th best single season average in Michigan history.
Garner is one of 14 Wolverines to tally over 1,000 career points and 100 career steals. He is also one of 25 Wolverines to eclipse 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. Garner is one of only 7 Michigan players to appear on both of those lists.
In 1982 Michigan established the Thad Garner Leadership Award which is given each year to the Michigan player who provides outstanding leadership to his teammates
#7 – Richard Doyle: Michigan’s first consensus All American, Doyle teamed with Bennie Oosterbaan to guide Michigan to a Western Conference championship in 1925-26. Doyle was also the captain of that team.
Doyle played in the era when scoring was not at a premium. He was a tremendous athlete who also excelled in track and field.
Doyle’s stats are largely unknown but it is speculated that he averaged about 5.0 ppg at a time when teams were scoring about 25-30 ppg.
#6 – Maceo Baston: Baston was a high flying dunker and a tenacious defender during his Michigan career (1994-98). Baston finished his career with 1,340 points. He ranks 9th on the school’s all-time list with 830 career rebounds. Baston’s career field goal percentage of 62.72% is a Michigan record. Baston also owns the top 2 spots on the single season field goal percentage list with 68.16% in his sophomore year and 67.42% in his freshmen season.
Baston swatted 138 shots in his career, good for 7th on the all-time list. His blocks per game average of 1.10 ranks 7th in school history.
Baston is one of 4 Wolverines to top 1,000 career points and 100 career blocks. He also had 17 double-doubles in his career.
Baston earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors in his sophomore and junior seasons as well as All-Big Ten third team honors as a senior.
Baston was selected in the second round of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He has played in the NBA and Europe. Baston played in 27 games last year (2008-09) with the Indiana Pacers.
#5 – Oliver Darden: A thunderous dunker, Darden was the force in the middle for Michigan’s dominant teams in the 1960s. Cazzie Russell was the star but Darden was extremely valuable for his rebounding and scoring. Darden played three seasons at Michigan (1963-66). Michigan won the Big Ten championship all three seasons and advanced to the Final Four twice.
Darden fell just short of the 1,000 point club as he totaled 993 points in his three seasons. He hauled down 757 career rebounds which ranks 10th on Michigan’s All-Time list. Darden’s career rebounding average of 9.22 per game also ranks 10th on the all-time list.
Darden is one of 11 Wolverines to record three career 200 rebound seasons. Darden tallied 23 double-doubles in his career.
Darden played briefly in the ABA but never in the NBA.
#4 – Loy Vaught: Vaught capped a stellar career (1986-90) at Michigan by earning All-Big Ten second team honors in his senior season as he averaged 15.5 ppg and 11.2 rpg. No Michigan player has played in more career games then the 135 Vaught played in. He also played in a school record 134 consecutive games.
Vaught earned third team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. He ranks third on Michigan’s career rebounding list with 993 rebounds. The 346 boards Vaught tallied in his senior season is the 7th best single season total in school history.
Vaught is one of just 5 Wolverines to accumulate over 1,400 points and 900 rebounds in his career. He is one of 11 Wolverines to record three career 200 rebound seasons. Vaught’s career field goal percentage of 61.70% ranks second in school history.
The 31 double-doubles Vaught rang up in his career places him 6th on Michigan’s all-time list. He tallied 18 double-doubles in his senior season; only 5 Wolverines have ever recorded more in a season.
Vaught was selected in the first round of the 1990 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He played in the league for 11 seasons and averaged 10.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg over the course of his career.
#3 – MC Burton: A three year starter, Burton was an outstanding player during his Michigan career (1956-59). Burton is the first player in NCAA history to ever lead a team in scoring, rebounding, and free throw shooting in the same season (1959). After averaging 12.4 ppg as a sophomore Burton averaged 17.3 and 20.9 ppg as a junior and senior.
Burton totaled 1,115 points and 831 rebounds in his career. Burton was also an outstanding free throw shooter as he led the team in free throw shooting percentage each of his three seasons. His career average of 79.28% is the 10th best in school history.
Burton’s career average of 12.59 rebounds per game ranks 3rd on Michigan’s All-Time list.
Burton corralled a career high 27 rebounds in a 1959 game against Iowa, that is the third best single game total in Michigan history. He also had a 24 rebound game in 1959 and two 23 rebound games in 1959.
Burton was also an excellent defensive player.
As a senior Burton earned All-Big Ten first team honors and was an honorable mention All-American.
Burton passed on a chance to play in the NBA and went to medical school instead. Burton served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War.
#2 – Chris Webber: The ring leader of Michigan’s famed Fab Five, Webber had two prodigious seasons while playing for Michigan (1991-93). Webber spear-headed Michigan’s back-to-back NCAA runner-up teams. Unfortunately for Webber he is often remembered more for these two incidents then anything else; In the 1993 National Championship Game Michigan was trailing by two points with 11 seconds left. Webber brought the ball up court, and got away with a traveling violation. He then called timeout. The problem was Michigan was out of timeouts. That resulted in Michigan being charged with a technical foul and it clinched the championship for North Carolina. He is also remembered for his part in the scandal that brought the Michigan basketball program to its knees and took 11 years to recover from.
On the court Webber was a monster. In two seasons he scored 1,218 points and set a sophomore record with 690 points. Over the course of his two year Michigan career, Webber averaged 17.4 ppg and 10.0 rpg. Webber played in 70 games and recorded 37 double-doubles, only 4 Wolverines have ever tallied more double-doubles.
Webber was also a good defensive player. He averaged 1.47 steals per game in his career; only 3 Wolverines have averaged more steals per game in their career. He also swatted 175 shots in his career; only two Wolverines have ever blocked more shots. His career average of 2.50 blocks per game is the best ever by a Michigan player.
Webber is one of 4 Michigan players to ever record over 500 points and over 50 steals in a season. He is one of only two players to record over 500 points and over 50 blocks in a season (which he did twice). Additionally, Webber is one of 4 Michigan players to tally over 1,000 points and over 100 blocks in their career.
Webber was a 1993 All-American selection.
Webber was the overall # 1 pick of the 1993 NBA Draft, becoming the first sophomore since Magic Johnson to be selected # 1 overall. Over the course of his 15 year NBA career Webber averaged 20.7 ppg and 9.8 rpg. He was the 1994 Rookie of the Year and a 5-time NBA All-Star.
#1 – Rudy Tomjanovich: Tomjanovich cherished the opportunity to play his college ball at Michigan and he poured his heart and soul into the Maize and Blue. A hard working player, Tomjanovich is the best rebounder to have ever played at Michigan. As good a rebounder as he was, Tomjanovich was an equally prolific scorer. Due to the freshmen eligibility rules Rudy T had to wait until his sophomore season to play in a game. He burst onto the scene by hauling down 27 rebounds while scoring 17 points and blocking 13 shots against Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats.
Tomjanovich ranks 7th on Michigan’s all-time scoring list with 1,808 career points and remember he did that in just three seasons (1967-70). His career scoring average of 25.1 ranks second only to Cazzie Russell all-time. Tomjanovich has the second and third best single season scoring averages in school history. He averaged 25.71 ppg in his junior season and as a senior he averaged 30.08 ppg joining Cazzie Russell as the only Wolverine to ever average over 30 ppg in a season.
Tomjanovich also holds the single game scoring record with Russell of 48 points. In his career Rudy T topped 40 points 3 times and 30 points 19 times.
Tomjanovich is Michigan’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,039 career boards. Over the course of his career he averaged 14.43 rebounds per game. He averaged over 13 rpg in each of his three seasons. Tomjanovich also set the single game rebounding record when he hauled down 30 boards against Loyola, Illinois in 1969.
Tomjanovich tallied 50 double-doubles in his career. He is one of only two Wolverines in the 1,000 point/1,000 rebound club.
Michigan retired Tomjanovich’s # 45 jersey in February 2003.
Tomjanovich was selected in the first round (#2 overall) of the 1970 NBA Draft by the San Diego Rockets. He played his entire 11 year NBA career with the Rockets. He was a 5 time NBA All-Star as a player. He eventually became the Rockets head coach and led them to back-to-back NBA Titles in 1994 and 1995.
Best of Michigan Basketball