Nov. 10, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior point guard Mateen Cleaves (Flint, Mich.) was named Wednesday to the Associated Press preseason All-America team. Cleaves, a repeat preseason All-America selection, is the only returning postseason All-America.
?It?s a great honor,? said Cleaves. ?It makes me feel good that people still have confidence in me. This is something you dream about as a kid. I intend not to let the voters down.?
Last season, Cleaves averaged 11.7 points and 7.2 assists in leading the Spartans to a 33-5 record, a second consecutive Big Ten title and the school?s first trip to the Final Four since 1979. Individually, he was named Big Ten Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. He enters the season only eight assists behind Scott Skiles on the MSU all-time assist chart.
Selected by a 65-member media panel, Cleaves appeared on 44 ballots. Auburn?s Chris Porter was the leading vote getter with 53 votes. DePaul?s Quentin Richardson (46), Ohio State?s Scoonie Penn (44) and Terence Morris (35) round out the first team.
?I?m really pleased and excited for Mateen,? said head coach Tom Izzo. ?With his injury, this is a shot in the arm to let him know that people have not forgotten about him or what he can do. I think all the players are deserving of the recognition, and yet none more than Mateen.?
Overall, 17 players were listed on the All-America ballots. Among those receiving votes was Michigan State senior forward Morris Peterson (Flint, Mich.). Peterson led the 1998-99 Spartans with 13.6 points per game en route to earning first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Michigan State was one of only three teams to have two players recognized. Ohio State (Penn and Michael Redd) and Cincinnati (Kenyon Martin and Pete Mickeal) also had two honorees. Others receiving votes included Courtney Alexander (Fresno State), Shane Battier (Duke), Khalid El-Amin (Connecticut), Mark Madsen (Stanford), Chris Mihm (Texas), Hanno Mottola (Utah), Pepe Sanchez (Temple) and Etan Thomas (Syracuse).