This is the second installment in the Best of Michigan Basketball series. Here we will take a look at the 10 Best Shooting Guards.
#10 – Steve Grote: A four year starter, Grote was the epitome of a hustle player. He is one of 5 Michigan players to earn All-Conference honors in each of his four seasons. He is also the first player in NCAA history to play in 4 NCAA Tournaments.
Grote ranks 10th on Michigan’s all-time list with 358 career assists.
Grote averaged 11.5 ppg in his career and averaged double digits in scoring all 4 years of his Michigan career (1973-77).
A 1976 Sports Illustrated article said, “Grote has started 78 of 86 games since his freshman year and is frequently called the most punishing runner at Michigan, which makes Bo Schembechler wonder why he is wearing short pants and sneakers.”
Grote holds the school record for most career fouls with 407 and for most career disqualifications with 25.
In 1977 Michigan established the Steve Grote Hustle Award, given each year to the player who displays the greatest effort on the court, in both practice and games.
Grote was a first-team Academic All-American 3 straight years.
Grote was selected in the third round of the 1977 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Grote never played in the NBA.
#9 – Nik Stauskas: After a sensational sophomore season, Nik Stauskas was a unanimous selection for Big Ten Player of the Year. He was also named to seven different All-American teams and became just the eighth sophomore in Michigan lore to eclipse 1,000 career points.
Stauskas will forever be known as one of the best three point shooters in school history. Despite playing just two seasons for the Maize and Blue, he drained 172 shots from beyond the arc, which ranks him eighth in Michigan’s record books. His career 44.1% from three point land is the third best for a Wolverine, topped only by Glen Rice and Sean Higgins.
Stauskas finished his career as an 83.2% shooter from the free throw line, only three Wolverines finished their careers with a higher percentage.
As a sophomore, Stauskas led the team with 118 assists and he ranked ninth in the Big Ten with a 1.8 assist to turnover ratio.
In addition to his Big Ten Player of the Year award, Stauskas was the only unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team and he was named the team MVP.
Stauskas finished his career averaging 14.1 points, 2.9 boards and 2.3 assists per game. He started 69 of his 75 career games and helped Michigan reach the National Championship game in his freshman season and the Elite Eight in his sophomore campaign.
Another season at Michigan would have likely vaulted Stauskas into the Top 5 on this list.
#8 – Zack Novak: He arrived in Ann Arbor with little fanfare, but left as true legend. Zack logged more minutes on the court than any Michigan Basketball player in team history. Novak was the driving force behind the team (2011-12) that snapped Michigan’s 26 year Big Ten championship drought.Novak is the only player in Michigan Basketball history to top 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 200 three-pointers.
He played the game with uncommon toughness and determination often guarding opponents 4-5 inches taller and 40-50 pounds heavier yet maintaining a precise shooting touch on the offensive end, despite the physical toll that he took.
Novak was a three-time team captain and three-time winner of the Thad Garner Leadership award and the Steve Grote Hustle Award. Novak earned Honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a senior and was a finalist for the Lowes Senior Class Award.
When Novak and his cohort, Stu Douglass, arrived on campus Michigan Basketball was lying dormant. By the time they left, the Wolverines had made 3 NCAA Tournament appearances in their 4 year careers and were a rising power nationally.
#7 – Tim Hardaway Jr: A three year starter, for Michigan, Hardaway Jr was instrumental in returning Michigan Basketball to relevance. He missed just one game in his career and started all 107 games he did play in. The Wolverines were 76-32 during Hardaway Jr’s career and appeared in the NCAA Tournament all three seasons. In his final season, Michigan advanced to the National Championship game where they lost to Louisville.
As a freshman, Hardaway Jr was named honorable mention All-Big Ten. His sophomore season he was selected to the All-Big Ten third team and as a junior he earned All-Big Ten first team honors. His junior season was his finest as he averaged career bests for points (14.5), rebounds (4.7) and assists (2.4) per game, as well as field goal percentage (43.7) and three-point field goal percentage (37.4). Hardaway posted 30 double-figure scoring games with seven games of 20-plus points.
Hardaway Jr was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off. He averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds to help lead Michigan to the championship.
He finished his career with 1,532 points which ranks him 18th on Michigan’s all-time scoring list. He ranks sixth in school history with 202 career three-pointers. Hardaway also pulled down 440 rebounds and notched 76 steals in his career.
Hardaway ranks 26th in school history with a career scoring average of 14.3 points per game. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. His 107 career starts are the 11th most in Michigan history.
Hardaway Jr opted to forgo his final season of eligibility. He was selected in the 1st round (24th overall) in the 2013 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.
#6 – Louis Bullock: One of the best shooters to ever play at Michigan, Bullock scored 2,224 career points which would place him 3rd on the Michigan’s all-time list. However, his records have been stricken from the books due to NCAA sanctions. A four year starter, Bullock made an astounding 339 three-pointers in his career; no Michigan player has hit more three pointers. He not only made a lot of three balls but he did it with the accuracy of a sharpshooter, his career 42.27 three-point percentage would rank him 5th in school history. He had 4 games in which he nailed 7 three-pointers.
Bullock was also an excellent free throw shooter; draining free throws at a career clip of 86.03% again no Wolverine has a higher percentage.
Bullock also tallied 137 steals in his career which would place him 8th on the all-time list at Michigan.
Bullock is one of 3 Wolverines to tally 4 career 400 point seasons.
Bullock was selected in the second round of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bullock never played in the NBA.
#5 – John Tidwell: A pure scorer, Tidwell averaged 20.0 ppg during his Michigan career (1958-61) which places him 7th on the all-time scoring average list. As a sophomore Tidwell averaged 17.6 ppg and 6.6 rpg.
In his junior season Tidwell averaged 21.6 ppg. He was elected team captain in his senior season and averaged 19.1 ppg.
Tidwell was a versatile player who could play multiple positions.
His career point total of 1386 places him 22nd on the All-Time list.
Tidwell was inducted into Michigan’s Hall of Honor in 1996.
Tidwell was selected in the 4th round of the 1961 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers
#4 – Manny Harris: A tremendous all-around player, Harris was a two-time recipient of the Bill Buntin team MVP Award. He earned All-Big Ten honors in each of his three seasons at Michigan; Third Team as a junior, First Team as a sophomore, and Second Team as a freshman.
Harris became the 6th Michigan sophomore to tally over 1,000 career points and finished his career with 1668 which places him 10th on the school’s All-Time scoring list. He joined Bill Buntin, Cazzie Russell, Glen Rice, and Jalen Rose as the only Wolverines to have 3 career 500 point seasons.
Harris 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. Harris is also 1 of 5 Wolverines to have over 500 points and 50 steals in a season (2009-10).
Harris was the catalyst 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.
Harris ranks 6th on Michigan’s All-Time list with 142 career three-pointers. His career free-throw percentage of 82.7 ranks 3rd on the All-Time list. Harris dished out 366 assists in his career which places him 9th on the school’s All-Time list. His career average of 3.73 assists per game ranks 10th in school history.
Also a solid defensive player, Harris ranks 7th on the All-Time list with 144 career steals and his career average of 1.46 steals per game ranks 5th on the list.
On November 14th 2009, Harris notched the second triple-double in school history with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game against Northern Michigan.
Harris opted to forego his senior season to pursue a professional career. He was not selected in the 2010 NBA Draft.
#3 – Jimmy King: A member of The Fab Five, King was a 4 year starter during his Michigan career (1991-95). King averaged 11.9 ppg in his career and tallied 1542 career points which ranks 15th on the all-time list.
King pulled down 535 rebounds in his career which places him at 33rd on the all-time list.
King was an excellent defensive player, he swiped the ball 187 times during his career which is second only to Gary Grant in school history.
King was also a good three-point shooter as he rang up 122 career threes which is 8th in school history.
King is one of 14 Wolverines to have compiled over 1,000 career points and over 100 career steals. He is also one of 25 Wolverines to have compiled over 1,000 career points and over 500 career rebounds. He is one of only 7 players to appear on both lists.
King was selected in the 2nd round of the 1995 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors. He played in the league for two years. King currently provides color commentary as one of the voices of Michigan Basketball on the radio.
#2 - Mike McGee: A prolific scorer, McGee torched the nets in his Michigan career (1977-81). He not only left Michigan as the school’s all-time scoring leader but he was also the Big Ten’s all-time scoring leader. McGee led Michigan in scoring all 4 years he played. He scored in double figures in 108 of 114 career games.
McGee ranks fifth in school history with his career scoring average of 21.3 ppg. He ranks second on Michigan’s all-time list with 2,439 career points (just 3 points behind Glen Rice) and first with 1,010 career field goals.
In his senior season McGee averaged 24.40 ppg which is the 8th best single season average in school history.
McGee is one of only 3 Wolverines to record four 400 point seasons.
McGee was selected in the first round of the 1981 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played in the NBA for 9 years and was a member of two NBA Championship teams with the Lakers (1982, 85).
#1 – Cazzie Russell: A three time All-American, Russell is the greatest basketball player to have roamed the hardwood in Ann Arbor (1963-66). Due to freshmen not being eligible to play, Russell’s career did not start until his sophomore season. He exploded on to the college basketball scene in 1963 as he lit up the scoreboard for 24.8 ppg and led Michigan to the first of three straight Big Ten Titles and a Final Four appearance.
Russell followed that season up by averaging 25.7 ppg and guiding Michigan to the National Championship game, they lost to UCLA 90-81.
As a senior Russell averaged a school record 30.77 ppg and was named the National Player of the Year. Michigan lost to Kentucky in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament. His career scoring average of 27.1 ppg is a school record.
Russell finished his Michigan career with a then school record 2,164 points, which is now good for 5th on the All-Time list. Russell’s career scoring average of 27.1 ppg is a school record.
In his career Russell established Michigan records with 4 games over 40 points and 20 games over 30 points. He scored 48 points in a 1966 game against Northwestern and 45 points in a 1965 game against San Francisco.
Russell was also an excellent rebounder as he averaged 8.4 rebounds per game in his career. His 676 career rebounds ranks 18th on the school’s career rebounding list. Russell was a sniper from the charity stripe with a career free throw percentage of 82.65%, 4th best in school history.
Russell didn’t just breath life into Michigan’s basketball program he completely revitalized it. Michigan was drawing overflow crowds at Yost Field House and built Crisler Arena or, as it is commonly known as, “The House That Cazzie Built” to accommodate the booming fan base.
On December 11th, 1993 Cazzie Russell’s #33 jersey became Michigan’s first retired number.
Russell was the overall #1 pick of the 1966 NBA Draft (New York Knicks). Russell played in the NBA for 12 seasons.
The Best of Michigan Basketball