Michigan State Basketball: Top 10 fan favorite players of Tom Izzo era

Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Tom Izzo has coached All-Americans, Big Ten players of the year and national champions, but who tops the list of Michigan State basketball fan favorites?

Over the years, there are players that have come along that have captured the hearts of Michigan State fans. We call these ‘fan favorites’ and there have been plenty in East Lansing.

What does it mean to be a fan favorite?

Fan favorites usually can do little to no wrong with the fanbase. This means that they are constantly making plays on the court and off the court, they’re great people. Usually they spend four years in college, but there are rare exceptions of fan favorites being one or two-and-done. Some stay three years, but you get the idea.

Just look at Jaren Jackson Jr. He was on campus for just one season and he was a fan favorite for a brief period. He was on a loaded roster and he stood out as an incredible freshman and if he had stayed for another year, he’d probably be very high on this list. Jaren loved Michigan State and the fanbase loved him.

There are others who just missed the cut like Travis Trice who led Michigan State to an improbable Final Four in 2015 and was just a good dude. Kenny Goins went from walk-on to Elite Eight hero in 2019 and was beloved by all Spartan fans. Maurice Ager was fun to watch and gave MSU fans a great few years. Gary Harris was great in his two years at Michigan State and fans still root hard for him as he journeys through the NBA. And Bryn Forbes may have only spent two years in the program, but his sharpshooting and close friendship with Denzel Valentine won everyone over.

AJ Granger was also a massive fan favorite during his time in East Lansing and helped bring a national title home.

Those guys had major impacts on the program, but the 10 to make this list were just a cut above.