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What Happened to Mateen Cleaves and Where is He Now?
AP Photo/Al Goldis

Former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves put himself on the map with his memorable tenure in East Lansing, helping guide the Spartans to an NCAA Tournament championship in 2000.

His MSU career landed him a shot in the NBA, but he failed to transition to the pros and was out of the league before long.

So, where is Mateen Cleaves now?

College Career

Mateen Cleaves grew up Flint, Mich., and stayed in-state to attend Michigan State University after high school.

While a member of the Spartans under renowned head coach Tom Izzo, Cleaves was a three-time Consensus All-American and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year.

The point guard also led the MSU basketball team to a national championship victory in 2000 and earned the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.

NBA Career

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Mateen Cleaves’ impressive run in college saw him earn attention at the NBA level. He was selected with the 14th-overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft.

His career in the pros was far less successful, however, as he was somewhat of a journeyman throughout his six years in the league. He spent time with the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle Supersonics.

Cleaves walked away from the NBA in 2006 with career averages of 3.6 points, 1.9 assists and a 1.0 rebounds.

Life After Basketball

After his NBA career concluded, Mateen Cleaves became a TV analyst for Fox Sports Detroit. The former MSU star also founded a record label, All Varsity Entertainment.

However, in 2015, Cleaves ran into some controversy and was accused of sexually assaulting a Mount Morris woman at a motel room at the Knights Inn in Mundy Township, Michigan.

Cleaves faced sexual assault charges — third-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, and unlawful imprisonment — that could have resulted in as many as 15 years in prison.

Cleaves’ attorneys Mike and Frank Manley argued his case in the Genesee County Circuit Court, claiming that Cleaves only participated in consensual sex with his accuser.

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In December 2016, Judge Cathy Dowd dismissed the case, but it was reinstated in 2017 after Judge Archie Hayman ruled that Dowd abused her power of discretion in dismissing it.

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The Michigan Supreme Court denied Cleaves’ appeal to keep the case closed, and thus legal proceeds resumed and handled by Wayne County, per ESPN.

After a long trial, a jury found the former basketball player not guilty of the allegations and celebrated with those close to him. ‘

“I’ve been waiting for four years for the truth to come out. I’ve been ridiculed in newspapers, in the media,” he said. “To be portrayed as a rapist, it broke my heart every day. But lying about rape is just as bad.”

These days, Cleaves is a free man, though the court case certainly had a negative impact on his public image.

MORE: What Happened to Adam Morrison and Where is He Now?

Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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