Next up on the list, we have the top 10 power forwards in the history of Michigan State basketball. Like the other positions, this was a hard list to formulate, but not because there were so many to chose from, but because this is probably the least “dominant” position, aside from Draymond Green, in recent history. Check out the list below, and let me know who you think deserves to be on this list or off this list, enjoy!
10. Lindsay Hairston (1972-1975)
A Detroit, Mich. native, Hairston was one of the better rebounding forwards in MSU history, even though he was only standing at about 6’7″. Hairston ranks 10th all-time on the MSU rebounding list with 803 rebounds in his career. In his senior season at MSU he averaged 19.3 ppg, which played major part in him being drafted by the Pistons in the fourth-round of the NBA Draft.
9. Pete Gent (1961-1964)
In today’s game, a player that is 6’4″ doesn’t do too much in the painted area. In the 1960’s, Gent played the game much different than the players of his stature today. Gent left MSU as the second career scorer, with a total of 1,146 points, and averaged 17.4 ppg over three years at MSU. Also, the undersized forward was able to average 8.3 rpg during his career, and was named to third team All-Big Ten in 1963 and second team All-Big Ten in 1964. In 1964, Gent was awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor, which is given annually to both a male and female athlete at each of the Big Ten schools, who excel in the classroom as well as their sport. After college, Gent didn’t find himself in the NBA, but he found himself in the NFL playing wide receiver and tight end for the Dallas Cowboys even though he never played in college.
8. Andre Hutson (1997-2001)
A native of Trotwood, Ohio, Hutson played a pivotal role in the MSU championship of 2000. He was tough body in the painted area, and attempted to get his hands on every ball. Hutson ranks ninth all-time on the MSU blocks list with 75, and he ranks eighth in MSU history with 835 rebounds. Hutson was drafted to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second-round of the NBA Draft, but never played in the NBA. He has had a decent career overseas playing in Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Russia.
7. Lee Lafayette (1966-1969)
The photo-less Lee Lafayette was another undersized power forward in MSU’s history standing at about 6’6″. Lafayette averaged 16.8 ppg during his time at MSU, and ranks seventh in school history in rebounds per game averaging 10.2 for his career. Lafayette was drafted in the fourth-round of the NBA Draft by the San Francisco Warriors in 1969.
6. Ken Johnson (1983-1985)
Ken Johnson first put on a Michigan State uniform after transferring from UCLA in 1983. In the 1985 season, Johnson blocked 72 shots which is currently a single-season record at MSU. In his career at MSU he rejected 96 shots which ranks fifth in school history. Johnson was drafted in the second-round by the Chicago Bulls and was sent to the Portland Trailblazers in a draft-day trade. He had an 11-year NBA career.
5. Jay Vincent (1977-1981)
In his first two seasons Vincent was very important to the Spartans, but not as important as he was during his final two season at MSU after Greg Kelser left. Vincent averaged 22.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game during his final two seasons at MSU. Also, he ranks sixth all-time in scoring with 1,914 points. In 1980 and 1981, Vincent won the Big Ten scoring title after he averaged 22.1 ppg and 24.1 ppg during those seasons. He went on to have a pretty good 9-year NBA career playing for the Mavericks, Bullets, and Spurs.
4. Antonio Smith (1995-1999)
The least talked about “Flintstone,” Smith (far right) left before the Spartans (*cough Flintstones cough*) hoisted the 2000 NCAA National Championship. Smith is just one of four MSU Spartans to grab over 1,000 rebounds in their career. In his final two seasons at MSU, the Flintstone averaged 7.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 1.2 spg. He was a monster on the glass, and was a disruptive body in the paint for opponents across the country.
3. Johnny Green (1956-1959)
While many people in the top five of these lists were heavily recruited players in high school, this man right here, Johnny Green, was not one of those guys. Some people have referred to Green as ” the greatest non-recruit in college basketball history.” With one of the greatest stories in basketball history, which you can read here, Green took full advantage of his opportunity and led the Spartans to the Final Four in MSU’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Known as Jumpin’ Johnny, Green averaged a MSU single-season record 17.8 rebounds to along with 18.0 points in 1958. He averaged 19.7 rpg during March Madness, which is a D-1 record, and is now third all-time on the MSU rebounding list with 1,036. Green was a consensus second team All-American in 1959, and had an excellent NBA career after being drafted 5th overall by the New York Knicks the same year. He played 14 NBA seasons, and was an NBA All-Star four times during his career.
2. Draymond Green (2008-2012)
There haven’t been many leaders in MSU history like “Day-Day” Green, hell, there haven’t been many players like “Day-Day” in college basketball history. Green left MSU as the leader in career rebounds with 1,095, and was second to Magic Johnson on the list of career triple-doubles in school history with three. After his senior season Green was pretty much on every first-team All-American list that you could fine, and he even won the NABC National Player of the Year award. Green is one of three players in MSU history with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. He had 40 career double-doubles, and ranks second in MSU career blocks with 117 and steals with 180. Green did it all for the Spartans during his four-years at MSU, and it can be argued that he is the greatest all-around player in MSU history.
1. Greg Kelser (1975-1979)
The man better-known-as “Special K” was one of the greatest players in MSU history, as he was the main recipient of Magic Johnson’s passes during their time at MSU. Kelser ranks fourth all-time in MSU history in points with 2,014, and second all-time in rebounds with 1,092. He was a HUGE part of the Spartans first ever NCAA title in 1979, as he was the “high-flyer” on the team. Kelser had 19 points and eight boards in the title game against Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad. “Special K” ranks as the only basketball player in Spartan history to record more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. Kelser was drafted by the Pistons 4th overall in 1979, but his NBA career was never able to match that of his college career. He is now known for his commentary for MSU basketball and the Detroit Pistons.