2000 — Mateen Cleaves
Mateen Cleaves is unquestionably one of the all time Spartan greats. He is Michigan State’s only three time All American and led the University in career assists and steals. He also led Sparty to their second NCAA championship ever and, still to date, the only other one besides the Magic Johnson title, and he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Mateen Cleaves is a Michigan State legend.
Unfortunately, his success did not carry over to the NBA. Cleaves went in the lottery to the Detroit Pistons, and fans were excited to keep the Flint, Michigan product at home but it never quite worked out. Cleaves bounced around the league and never finished with positive win shares in any season, retiring with a career 87 offensive rating. But he’ll always have that 2000 championship ring.