Michigan State Icon, TV Host Mateen Cleaves talks Spartans (Exclusive)

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Mateen Cleaves, a first round NBA draft pick is presently a sports commentator for CBS Sports Network’s “Inside College Basketball” and Fox Sports “Detroit’s Pistons Live.” Additionally, the former Pistons lottery pick hosts SiriusXM Radio’s sports talk shows “College Sports Today” and “NBA Off the Dribble.” Inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, Mateen Cleaves was also selected by the NCAA as one of the top players in its 75 year history.


The Michigan State University legend hosted the Mid-Michigan Spartans’ 14th annual charity golf challenge, raising funds to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing. Throughout the past 13 years, the charity event has generated approximately $500,000 in revenue to support children in the greater Lansing community and to provide deserving students scholarships to MSU. Cleaves is working with Steve Smith and other Michigan State players for a great cause; helping kids and providing education for the University.

“I’m really excited about it, excited to help out anyway I can,” Mateen said.

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In part one of this exclusive we talk Michigan State Spartans past, present and future with the CBS Sports NBA Draft expert

Paul M. Banks: I graduated college early, and started my MBA up at State in 2000; the same semester of the national title run. I don’t recall the name of the specific pizza joint on campus, but I do recall there was one that offered a “Mateen Meal Combo.” Tell me your favorite memories of your Michigan State career.

Mateen Cleaves: I remember that, great times. Just being a part of Michigan State during the 2000s, probably the best time of my life. Socially it was great, going to class and interacting with people. My favorite memory was in1998 when we won the first Big Ten championship, because that’s what changed things at Michigan State. It was a different mentality, the confidence was there. That started it all, and in 1999-2000 just to be able to love your dream, everyone dreams about winning the national championship if you’re a basketball player growing up. To actually be able to live it, and do it with guys that you genuinely love. It wasn’t one guy who won that championship, it was every guy. Players 1-13 on the bench, every coach, every manager, every video coordinator and a everyone in the program had a hand in it.


Paul M. Banks: I’ve seen Michigan State players Gary Harris and Adreian Payne ranked very high for the next draft class. Why do you think they stayed in East Lansing when they easily could have come out?

Mateen Cleaves: Those guys have a chance to play for the national title. With everyone they have coming back, they have a chance to be top 5. And whenever you have a chance to play for a national championship you want to do that. They’ll look back after next year and be glad they came back. They’re in the gym working their tails off right now. I was working out the other day, and I saw both of them. They both look good.

Paul M. Banks: And Tom Izzo named his son after you; his son’s middle name is Mateen

Mateen Cleaves: That was sweet, it made me feel good to know my name sake’s out there. I named my son after him, my son’s middle name is Izzy, so it was an honor to name my son after him as well.


Paul M. Banks: Experts are very high on Michigan State next year. They’re a definite college basketball nation title contender, your thoughts?

Mateen Cleaves: I really think it could be an epic year for Michigan State next year. And I’m not saying that with the bias of a Spartan, I’m talking as an analyst. With everything they have coming back next year: the point guard Keith Appling, Dawson- he’ll be healthy, Costello- he’ll step in where Nix left off, Valentine, he’ll be a lot better, so they’ll have a chance to win a national championship. And you have one of the best coaches in college basketball in Tom Izzo on the sideline, so I think they have a chance to win it all.

Part One with Mateen Cleaves, talking NBA Draft


Part One with Mateen Cleaves, talking NBA Draft

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. (“Quasi-endorsed” by Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly) He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook

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