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Cleaves is the consummate leader and winner, a player who lives up to that well-worn piece of praise "coach on the floor." Consider what happened in the NCAA tournament last March, after the Spartans had played poorly in the first half against Syracuse. Before the MSU coaches got to the Spartans' locker room, Cleaves had made a wreck of the place, throwing stuff around and screaming in a fit of rage, all in an effort to shake his teammates from their lethargy. He got his point across, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo didn't have to say a word. The Spartans won handily in the second half. Cleaves also possesses most of the requisite point-guard skills. He's a great passer and a rock-solid defender with quick hands that help him make a lot of steals. He penetrates well and can use screens to help him get a step to the basket. His weakness, supposedly, is his outside shot, but when he needed to step up and make some critical 3-pointers in the NCAA tournament championship game against Florida, he did so without hesitation. He wound up making a respectable 37 percent of his 3-pointers as a senior, while finishing up as the Spartans' all-time assist leader. Cleaves will be a solid pro.
Senior SeasonNamed Most Outstanding Player of the 2000 Final Four as the Spartans defeated Florida 89-76 in the title game. Cleaves scored 18 points and had four assists
Sporting News first-team All-America…AP second-team All-America
MSU and Big Ten career assists leader (816)
Became only the 22nd player in NCAA history with 800+ career assists
One of 15 finalists for the Naismith Award and a finalist for the Wooden Award
Missed the first 13 games of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot
Junior SeasonFirst-team AP All-America
First-team All-American pick by the National Association of Basketball Coaches
Set a school and Big Ten records for most assists in a season with 274 (breaking Magic Johnson's school and conference record of 269, set in '78-79)
Gained a spot on the USA basketball team that competed in the World Championships during the summer of 1998, but a foot injury forced him to withdraw
Sophomore SeasonSecond-team All-America as chosen by the AP, Basketball Weekly and Basketball Times
Selected as the Big Ten Conference's Player of the Year
Scored 32 of his career-high 34 points in the second half and overtime of the Spartans' 72-66 win at Northwestern
Freshman SeasonRanked first on the team and third in the Big Ten is assists (146)
NotablesPlayed in the McDonald's All-American game as a high school senior
Led Flint Northern to the Class A state title in '94-95
All-state in football as a quarterback
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