Michigan State Basketball: Ranking 3 best current Spartans in the NBA

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball
Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State basketball (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

2. Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Memphis Grizzlies

Although just a one-and-done in East Lansing, Jackson was well liked by the Spartan faithful for his charisma and flashes of talent. Like Gary Harris, Jaren Jackson Jr. was a five-star out of Indiana who also looked like a Purdue lock before Izzo came on the scene. He is Izzo’s third-highest ranked recruit according to 247Sports.

In Jackson’s one year at Michigan State, he averaged almost 11 points per game and shot nearly 40 percent from deep. He blocked an astounding three shots per game, which was one of the biggest attractions from NBA scouts. Jackson was always looked at as a one-and-done due to how high his NBA ceiling is at such a young age.

Jackson’s best game came against Minnesota in a big road win when he scored 27 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out three assists. He knocked down five 3-pointers as well. He also had a great performance against Illinois a few weeks back, posting 21 points and 11 rebounds in another big win. He blocked six shots in the same game.

During Big Ten play, Jackson’s named soared up draft boards.

During the Spartans’ blunder in the NCAA tournament against Syracuse, Jackson was benched in favor of sixth year forward Ben Carter, a move that still confuses fans to this day. He only ended up playing 15 minutes in the game, missing all four shots from the field while committing three fouls. He later declared for the draft.

Jackson was selected fourth overall in the 2018 draft by the Memphis Grizzlies, the highest drafted Spartan since Magic Johnson went No. 1 overall in 1979. He makes up a crucial part of the young core in Memphis with Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke, and he is viewed as one of the best young players in the NBA. His high ceiling and potential to be an NBA superstar is what makes him No. 2 on this list.