This is the 13th in a 50-day summer series, counting down the top players in Michigan State basketball history, as I see them. The criteria is impact and performance at MSU only, professional career irrelevant. Have your own opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
No. 38 – Goran Suton
Center, 2005-09, Lansing / Serbia
The skinny: Suton is remembered at MSU mostly for how he finished. And few have finished better. The 6-foot-10 former Lansing Everett star totaled 39 points in the Midwest Regional semis and finals in 2009, and was named the region’s Most Outstanding Player for leading the Spartans past Kansas and top-seeded Louisville, and to the Final Four in Detroit. By that point in his career, Suton was the ideal pick-and-pop big man, a dangerous jump shooter and smooth high-post passer.
He was also an underrated rebounder, a sure- and strong-handed center later in his career. He’s seventh in rebounding all-time at MSU and led the team three straight seasons, averaging better than eight per game as junior and senior. He and Antonio Smith share the school record for offensive rebounds in a single game, at 11. And Suton is the most recent Spartan to reach 20 rebounds in a game, the first since Kevin Willis did it twice in 1983.
Suton was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2008-09, averaging 10.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. He improved his craft throughout his career, most noticeably his outside shooting. He hit 21 of 48 3-pointers as a senior, after making just 2 of 18 during his first three seasons.
Why’s he’s No. 38: Career impact has a lot to do with this list. Without Suton, MSU doesn’t reach the 2009 Final Four, which again raised the program’s stature, began Tom Izzo’s third act at MSU and made the Spartans a feel-good story statewide as they arrived in Detroit for college basketball’s final weekend.
Suton is arguably among the top five centers ever to play in East Lansing. Great guards are everywhere in college basketball — and at MSU. Skilled big men have been far more rare throughout the history of the Spartan program.
No. 39: Alan Anderson
No. 40: Branden Dawson
No. 41: Bill Kilgore
No. 42: Pete Gent
No. 43: Al Ferrari
No. 44: Ken Redfield
No. 45: Chris Hill
No. 46: Raymar Morgan
No. 47: Kevin Smith
No. 48: Kevin Willis
No. 49: Matt Steigenga
No. 50: Marcus Taylor