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The debate continues every season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) over which schools produce the top talents in the league. Generally, fans will mention top programs like Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina. However, the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans have produced a good number of star players in the league. Here’s a look at head coaches Tom Izzo vs. John Beilein in terms of the NBA talent they’ve helped produce.

John Beilein has been head coach at Michigan since 2007. Looking at the current NBA situation, the Wolverines had several players active on team rosters as of the 2017-18 season. Among them are Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, and D.J. Wilson. The New York Knicks have a noteworthy talent in Tim Hardaway Jr. who played alongside Glen Robinson III during their run at Michigan.

There’s also Trey Burke who played three seasons with Utah and averaged 12 points, 4.2 assists, and 2.5 rebounds a game there. He now plays for New York and has averaged about 12 points, four assists, and two rebounds a game. He provides a helpful role for his current team but has not lived up to earlier expectations that he could turn into an All-Star.


Other former Michigan players who have been in the NBA since Beilein coached them are Ekpe Udoh, Darius Morris, and Mitch McGary. It’s hard to consider them success stories right now. McGary averages 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in his two seasons with OKC. Darius Morris spent just six seasons in the league and has been out since 2014-15. He averaged a mere 3.3 points, 1.4 assists, and one rebound per game during his career.

One might look at Jamal Crawford as a longtime sixth man star within the NBA. However, he’s been in the league since 2000 and was not coached by Beilein. Still, the best way to view the talent Beilein has produced is “up and coming” stars in the league. Hardaway is having a great season in New York as he averages a career-best 20.6 points per game and 2.9 assists per game. His total rebounds are slightly down, but it’s clear he is the top talent Beilein has produced in recent years.

Tom Izzo is known for his coaching excellence during his tenure at Michigan State. Izzo has been the Spartans basketball coach since 1995 which gives a much wider scope of players to look at over his time as coach. Just like Michigan, the Spartans have a number of players that were active on a roster as of the 2017 NBA season.

They include NBA All-Star Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. Since Green came into the league he’s been a major part of that championship franchise in the NBA based on his overall abilities to contribute. Izzo also coached up-and-coming NBA talents Denzel Washington (Chicago Bulls) and the San Antonio Spurs’ Bryn Forbes. Of those players, Forbes has shown flashes of his ability with several 2018 NBA games in which he led his team in scoring and helped them win.

Don’t forget about current rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. who is a young emerging star for the Memphis Grizzlies. Some analysts believe he may be the best player from the 2018 NBA Draft based on the skills he’s shown so far. Jackson is averaging 13.3 points, grabbing 4.8 rebounds, dishing 1.2 assists, and blocking 1.6 shots per game. He also appears as if he can shoot the three well and may improve upon his 34.8 percent in future seasons.

Between 1998 and 2007, ESPN’s Andy Katz called Michigan State the top college basketball program of that decade. That’s certainly a nod to Tom Izzo’s coaching abilities and it carries over to his players that enter the league.


Zach Randolph is a former NBA All-Star and currently continues his career at age 37 for the Sacramento Kings. The former Michigan State player had some impressive seasons for the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies during his 16 or so seasons.

Yet another example to consider is Morris Peterson who enjoyed a successful career in the league for 10 years. He was part of the Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Hornets, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Peterson averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for his career.

There’s no disrespect to John Beilein who is an excellent coach and has coached fewer seasons at Michigan than Izzo has at Michigan State. However, Beilein is more of an emerging coach and his players are of the same nature. They’ve had recent tournament runs and produced quality players for the league. It’s possible Tim Hardaway Jr. could become an All-Star this season or soon after, but Izzo simply has more All-Star and noteworthy talent playing in the league at the moment.

Fans of these teams realize that both schools have an illustrious history in sports including basketball and football. No matter which players excel in the professional leagues, fans will continue to root for their school of choice. The stylish and fun Michigan apparel that fans can buy at Livnfresh.com help them carry on the tradition!