The Michigan Wolverines basketball team is one of the best known college basketball programs in the nation. Part of what makes this program very well known is a group of players that played for them in the early 1990’s known as the Fab 5. This was the starting five of the team from the 1991-92 season to the 1994-95 season and ESPN even did a 30-for-30 on them. The group of players included Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King. During the early 1990’s, these players were among the best in college basketball and helped establish Michigan as a top national championship contender. A few of these players went on to become some of the top players in the National Basketball Association as well.
Chris Webber is arguably the best known player of the Fab 5. He was a power forward who can also play the center position. Webber was a top scorer and rebounder for Michigan and was arguably the best player on the team. Chris helped lead the Wolverines to two consecutive national championship games during his time at Michigan. He would establish himself as one of the top players in college basketball by winning the John Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year. Webber would also earn an All American selection as well. After a successful playing career at Michigan, Webber would go on to play in the NBA as he was a top draft pick in 1993. Once drafted, Webber established himself as one of the top players in the NBA.
Another member of the Fab 5 was Jalen Rose. He is the son of a former NBA player known as Jimmy Walker. Rose was a star player at Southwestern High School in Detroit and was one of the top players in the country during his high school career. When he attended Michigan, he was a key contributor to the team as he helped them reach the NCAA finals games in 1992 and 1993. Jalen was the point guard and leader of the team as he would help direct the other players on the court during games. In 1994, Rose would opt for the NBA draft and would be selected by the Denver Nuggets. He would later play for the Indiana Pacers where he helped lead them to consecutive conference finals appearances as well as an appearance in the 2000 NBA Finals. Rose retired from the NBA in 2007.
Juwan Howard was one of the key members of the Fab 5. Howard attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy and would become a top high school player. He was recruited by and attended Michigan where he helped lead the team to back to back appearances in the NCAA championship game. After a successful college career, Juwan Howard would opt for the NBA draft after his junior season. He was drafted by the Washington Bullets who are now known as the Wizards. With Washington, Howard would emerge as one of the top players in the league with his scoring and rebounding ability. Howard would finish his career with the Miami Heat where he was a member of a team that won an NBA Championship.
Jimmy King was a starter of the Michigan basketball team where he helped them reach the NCAA tournament in all four of his years playing for them. He was originally from Plano, Texas where he was an All American at Plano East Senior High School. While the Fab 5 final four appearances have been forfeited, King was not one of the players who was asked to testify in front of a grand jury. Unlike the other three players, Jimmy King did not leave school early to opt for the NBA draft. Instead he played all four years of eligibility. However, he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 1995 draft. King would have a short career in the NBA and would also play in the CBA for a couple of years. As of 2006, King was working as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch on Wall Street and in 2008 he has been a radio color commentator for the Wolverines basketball team.
The last member of the Fab 5 is Ray Jackson who was another key contributor to the team’s success in the early 1990’s. Like Jimmy King, Jackson was not called before a grand jury to testify about the scandal in which players received money. Although Jackson had a successful college basketball career, he was not drafted into the NBA. He tried out for the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons, but was cut. Jackson would play in the CBA for a few years where he was the rookie of the year in 1996. Since Jackson was the only member of the Fab 5 to not make it to the NBA, he had difficulty coping with this fact for a number of years. However, he is over it now and currently lives in Austin, Texas where he owns a moving company as well as a non profit organization to help children socially, educationally and with basketball.