Mateen Cleaves, Steve Smith Inducted Into Michigan Sports Hall of Fame
Feb. 18, 2013
DETROIT - Former Michigan State men's basketball All-Americans Mateen Cleaves and Steve Smith were inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Monday night at a ceremony in Detroit's Max M. Fisher Music Center at Orchestra Hall.
Cleaves and Smith were members of the 57th induction class that also included Lomas Brown, Tony Dungy, Mark Howe, Pam McGee, Dick Kimball and Tyrone Wheatley.
Michigan State's only three-time All-American in basketball, Cleaves led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA Championship, three-straight Big Ten regular-season championships from 1998-2000 and back-to-back Big Ten Tournament titles in 1999 and 2000. A two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and the Big Ten's all-time leader in assists (816), Cleaves is one of nine players to have his Michigan State jersey retired (No. 12).
Cleaves was a three-time captain and ranks 14th in Michigan State career scoring with 1,541 points. During his four-year career, the Spartans compiled a 104-32 record. The Flint, Mich., native also is first in Spartan history with 195 career steals, and ranks among MSU's all-time leaders in 3-point field-goal attempts (fifth at 457), games started (tied for ninth at 115), and field-goal attempts (ninth at 1,331). As a junior, Cleaves set a school and conference single-season record with 274 assists. He owns the Big Ten and school record for most assists in a game as he dished out 20 against Michigan on March 4, 2000. Cleaves, whose 73 steals as a sophomore rank second in an MSU season behind only Earvin "Magic" Johnson, recorded nine steals against Minnesota on Feb. 14, 1998, establishing an MSU single-game record.
Cleaves started 24 of 29 games as a true freshman, averaging 10.2 points and 5.0 assists. He exploded as a sophomore, averaging 16.1 points and 7.2 assists and earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors, as voted on by the league's coaches and media. In addition, he was a consensus second-team All-American, including earning first-team honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
His performance led Michigan State to the 1998 Big Ten Championship and helped advance the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 1990.
As a junior, Cleaves averaged 11.7 points and 7.2 assists. In guiding Michigan State to a 33-5 mark and its first Final Four since 1979, Cleaves was a consensus first-team All-America selection, earning first-team honors from the Associated Press, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), Wooden Award and USBWA. The Spartans captured both the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, as Cleaves was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the coaches and was voted Big Ten Tournament MVP.
Despite the impressive list of accomplishments through his first three years, Cleaves opted to return to Michigan State for his senior season, rather than entering the NBA Draft. He missed the first 13 games of the season with a broken bone in his right foot, but returned for conference play to lead the Big Ten with 7.8 assists per league game. While his teammate Morris Peterson earned Player of the Year honors, Cleaves was selected first-team All-Big Ten for a third-straight season. He was a consensus Second-Team All-American, earning first-team accolades from The Sporting News and Wooden Award. After guiding MSU to a third-straight league title, Cleaves led MSU to a Big Ten Tournament title, finding a place on the All-Tournament Team. As the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, MSU advanced to a second-straight Final Four, while Cleaves earned All-Midwest Region honors for the second-straight season. In the 2000 Final Four, he averaged 14.5 points and 4.0 assists to earn Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors and lead Michigan State to its second national title in school history.
Cleaves was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2000 NBA Draft. He spent six seasons in the NBA, including stints with Detroit, Sacramento, Cleveland and Seattle.
Cleaves was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
A two-time All-America selection at Michigan State, Smith finished his career as the Spartans' all-time leading scorer with 2,263 points. (He currently ranks second.) As a junior, Smith was the recipient of the Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball Award, presented to the Big Ten MVP, after averaging 20.2 points and 7.0 rebounds for a Spartan squad that finished 28-6 and won the Big Ten Championship. In his senior season, Smith increased his scoring average to 25.1 points, leading the Spartans back to the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to ranking second in career scoring, Smith ranks among the top 10 in seven other Spartan career statistical categories, including field-goal attempts (second with 1,623), field goals (third with 826), free-throw attempts (third with 614), scoring average (fourth at 18.5 ppg.), free throws (fourth with 464), 3-point field goals (ninth with 147) and assists (ninth with 453). Along with Cleaves, Smith is one of nine players to have his Michigan State jersey retired (No. 21).
A native of Detroit, Mich., Smith scored 13,430 points in 14 NBA seasons, averaging 14.3 points per game. An NBA All-Star in 1998, he won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1998 and the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2002. The fifth pick in the 1991 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, Smith was named to the 1992 All-Rookie First Team. His career also included stops with the Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets and Charlotte Bobcats. In 2003, Smith earned an NBA Championship ring with the Spurs.
Smith also excelled in international competition. In 2000, he won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA in Sydney. He was also a part of the USA Basketball squads that went undefeated in the 1994 World Championships in Toronto and the 1999 Tournament of the Americas in San Juan. While at MSU, he participated in the 1989 World University Games.
In 1998, Smith donated $2.5 million to the $7.5 million Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center facility on the campus of MSU, which at the time was the largest gift ever by a professional athlete to any college or university. The building is named in his mother's honor. In 2001, Smith was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame, which is housed at the Smith Center.
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