The Greatest Players in Big Ten History

When thinking about some of the greatest of all time in college basketball, it is easy to think of players who came out of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East and even some out of the Southeastern Conference.  One conference that should not be overlooked for basketball greatness is the Big 10 Conference.

Known for its greatness in football and for the northern gridlock between rivals such as Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue among others, the Big 10 Conference would be hard to match as far as all time players for college basketball.   The following is going to be my all time team for the Big 10.  Many may disagree with the choices… but in thinking about this all time team, I think about how in many ways a lot of these players literally changed the game of basketball for the better.  Hard to believe.. but they did and they came out of the Big 10.

This team has 18 players but each one would be a great player to have on any basketball team. There are a lot of great players but in putting down this team I also took into account athletic ability. The game has evolved so my basketball team has evolved to the following people.

So here we go….. my all time basketball team for the Big 10 Conference:

Guards:

Magic Johnson, Michigan State –  The greatest point guard to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. He was 6’9 and could make every player around him look like a superstar.

Isaiah Thomas, Indiana – This “Bad Boy” played for Bobby Knight at Indiana out of Chicago and was known not just as a great player but a great competitor. Imagine having Thomas and Johnson to sub for each other on your basketball team.

Jerry Lucas, Ohio State – One of the greatest all time scorers in Big 10 history. Led Ohio State to one of its best years in history.

Steve Alford, Indiana – Indiana’s Mr. Basketball out of New Castle was one of the best guards with one of the sweetest shots ever.

D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State – An amazing college player at Ohio State, he is now known for his defensive prowess and considered one of the best defensive players in the NBA.

Jalen Rose, Michigan – One of the Fab 5 from Michigan, Rose helped lead the swagger of the Wolverines and his “Fab” teammates to many great NCAA Tournament final fours.

Deron Williams, Illinois – Known as one of the best players ever for the Illini who helped lead them to a Final Four.

Mike Conley, Ohio State – A great natural scorer for the Buckeyes and one of the best leaders in Ohio State basketball history.

Kendall Gill, Illinois – Could score with the best of them in college. Athletic ability made this guy a prize recruit in Champagne.

Nick Anderson, Illinois – Another great scorer out of Illinois who could go on a shooting binge that would make Larry Bird smile.

Forwards:

Chris Webber, Michigan – Another member of the “Fab 5” who was seen as the leader of the freshmen at Michigan. A strong inside presence , Webber would have easily have been a one and done in this era of college basketball.

Juwan Howard, Michigan – Another one of the members of the “Fab 5” at Michigan, he was the ultimate role player on a team coached by Steve Fisher that was as complete for a few years as could be. He is now the head coach of the Wolverines for the 2020 season.

Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin – Frank the Tank is one of the most famous players in Badgers history helping lead Wisconsin to some of its greatest NCAA Tournament success ever.

Glen Rice, Michigan – Not just a great Big 10 player (scorer/rebounder), he was one of the greatest NCAA players who could play at either the guard or forward position.

Jim Jackson, Ohio State – A great player who could score and rebound and was also a great leader for the Buckeyes.

Glenn Robinson, Purdue – This dude was a monster on the glass when it came to scoring and rebounding. For many teams, it would take two people to keep the Big Dog off the boards. Glenn Robinson was a big man coaches dream who helped lead Purdue to much success.

Steve Smith, Michigan State – This Spartan is known in the annals of basketball history as one of the greatest shooters ever. If Smith was on the floor, you better know that he wasn’t just going to take it to the basket. Smith could break you down… smile at you and then shoot it right in yo mouth.

Draymond Green, Michigan State – Ok… if you are really a basketball fan, you would have to be living under a rock to not know anything about Draymond Green. While he was a fierce rebounder and scorer at Michigan State, he was also known as a fierce emotional team leader…. characteristics that helped make him one of the greatest leaders for the Golden Warriors alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant in helping to lead the Warriors to build one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.

Big 10 Conference Coaching Staff:

Bobby Knight, Indiana – One of the most passionate and most intellectual basketball coaches to have walked on hardwood. His basketball tree has many branches one of which includes Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State – Has helped lead Michigan State to its greatest basketball success ever and is one of the games most passionate and best teachers ever.

Dick Bennett, Wisconsin – Revolutionized the game with the “Pack Defense” of which his son Tony won a national championship with at the University of Virginia.

Gene Keady, Purdue – One of the greatest coaches in the history of the Big 10 who could take talent that was unknown and male household names out of them.

Bo Ryan, Wisconisn – Another one of the great Badger coaches in the Big 10 that always had the knack to help lead Wisconsin to some of its greatest success in the postseason when the regular season would seem kind of average.

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