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Mateen Cleaves was a Michigan State hero; Where is he now?

Mateen Cleaves was a Michigan State hero; Where is he now?
Mateen Cleaves is a Michigan State basketball legend who led the Spartans to the national title in 2000. (Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC)
Jacob Ellis

EAST LANSING, Mich. (BVM) – Former Michigan State point guard Mateen Cleaves made his name with the Spartans almost a quarter century ago. The Flint, Michigan native went on to play in the NBA. He has been out of basketball for over 15 years now. What is Cleaves up to these days?

Spartans success

The 6-foot-2 Flint Northern star would earn a McDonald’s All-American accolade and make his way to MSU in 1996. In four years there he averaged 12.5 points and 6.6 assists per game. Beyond this, Cleaves earned a pile of awards during his college career.

As a sophomore, he claimed first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-America honors. In his junior year, Cleaves added Big Ten Player of the Year and first-team All-America accolades.

As a senior, he captured another second-team All-America award along with the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honor. Those capped off a 2000 NCAA title win for the Spartans.

What’s more, he led the Big Ten in assists for three straight seasons (1997-2000). In addition, Mateen had his number hung in the rafters at Michigan State. Plus he gained entry into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. That wouldn’t be the end of his story. The hardwood hero moved on to play in the NBA.

NBA career

His hometown team the Detroit Pistons took Cleaves in the first round (14th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft. In September of 2001, they shipped him to Sacramento for Jon Barry and a first-round pick. Cleaves stayed with Sacramento for two seasons then signed a 10-day contract with Cleveland. His tenure there lasted only four games.

Several months later, he inked a free-agent deal with Seattle. He stuck with the Sonics from 2004 through 2006. That would conclude his NBA playing career.

In 2006-07, Cleaves suited up for Russian team UNICS Kazan. A year later, he joined Greek squad Panionios for the season.

After basketball

Following that, he switched to the announcer’s studio. Cleaves worked as a studio analyst for Fox Sports Detroit. And he served as a commentator for CBS Sports from January 2013 to March 2016.

Moreover, Mateen found work as a motivational speaker. That was a precursor to his present position. The former Spartan currently holds a position as leadership coach at United Wholesale Mortgage.

He’s been with the Pontiac, Michigan-based mortgage company since January 2019. Seems like a natural fit.