This is the ninth 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. 42 – Pete Gent
Center / Forward, 1961-64, Bangor, Mich.
The skinny: Mostly known for his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and for authoring “North Dallas Forty,” Gent was a small-town Southwest Michigan kid and an example of the times — playing center for MSU at 6-foot-4. Gent led the Spartans in scoring all three of his seasons, averaging 21 points as a senior.
He finished as the program’s second high scorer, behind Julius McCoy, and averaged better than eight rebounds for his career. Gent, evidenced by his NFL career as a receiver, was a terrific athlete who old-timers say would find his way onto the floor in modern times.
Why he’s No. 42: His resume gets him in the top 50 — he was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, either second- or third team. But he played on awful teams his first two seasons, so his numbers are probably inflated. And like Al Ferrari at No. 43, Gent’s low field-goal percentage (40 percent for his career) can’t be overlooked, regardless of era. Gent is in the top 10 at MSU in field-goal attempts, despite playing in 66 games, limited by short seasons and the freshman ban. By comparison, Ken Redfield (No. 44 on this list) played in 118 games, scored 66 more career points, but took almost 200 fewer career shots.