Fox Sports Pistons Analyst Mateen Cleaves talks NBA Draft (Exclusive)



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.

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In part one of this exclusive we talk 2013 NBA Draft with the CBS Sports NBA Draft expert

Paul M. Banks: Tell me about your work with CBS Sports, Fox Sports Detroit and Sirius XM

Mateen Cleaves: I am lucky, all three are great work environments. They make it easy for me. I know how it is to be part of a winning team, I won championships in high school, college, and I had an opportunity in the NBA, we almost won one with the Sacramento Kings. And with all three I get that same feeling, being a part of a winning team. From the producers to the higher-ups in the companies, they just make it easy for us.

Paul M. Banks: There’s no consensus #1 guy in this draft. I’ve seen Otto Porter, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel and Trey Burke going #1 in some mocks. Is this going to be a “best player available” draft Thursday night? What do see happening on Draft night?

Mateen Cleaves: We spend a lot of time saying “this guy who’s picked has potential to be good.” Right now we don’t have that polished guy coming in who can be a star right now. I just look at these players, the guy who stands out to me is Ben McLemore, I like his size, his ability to create his own shot, his athleticism, his ability to shoot the basketball and just keep scoring. I would like to see him be more aggressive offensively, and that will come as he gets older. I think the draft is better than what people give it credit for.

There’s a lot of talent, but it’s going to take some time for a lot of these guys to come around. I think when people look back 10 years from now, there’s going to be some great players who came out of this draft.


Paul M. Banks: How about the Michigan Wolverines Trey Burke, where do you see him going?

Mateen Cleaves: Trey Burke might be going top five, definitely not going past 10. Trey Burke was the best NBA ready point guard this spring. I love the way he plays the screen-and-roll. In the NBA, that’s a way your offense is going to come running the screen-and-roll. Trey Burke is a guy who can step outside of the offense and make a play the dribble with the shot clock running down. He can score, he’s not as quick as we once thought and he could be a little bigger. He’s a small guy, but he can play, he’s a winner; got his team to the National Championship game. I like his chances, I definitely think his game will translate to the NBA.

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.


For past two, Cleaves talk Michigan State past, present and future

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