St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Cleaves officially a Piston

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 7, 2000

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Mateen Cleaves rolled up his sleeves, flashed a smile and put pen to paper. He fulfilled a lifelong dream Wednesday by joining the Detroit Pistons.

The first-round draft pick, who led Michigan State to the NCAA title last spring, signed a three-year, $4.1-million contract during an afternoon news conference.

"This makes it official. I'm a Piston. It's a dream come true," Cleaves said.

Detroit selected the Flint native with the 14th pick in the draft.

Cleaves said that since he was 6 or 7 years old, he wanted to play in the NFL or the NBA. When he became player of the year in the Big Ten, he thought he had a good shot to play in the NBA.

"When I grew up watching the Bad Boys, I wanted to play like that -- the passion they played with," he said.

General manager Joe Dumars said "it's been a pleasure to deal with him so far. Everything with him since you saw him smiling at the draft has been a pleasure."

Among the first things Cleaves said he will do with his money is buy his mother a house.

"I saw my mother and father go into work every day. ... Now it's payback. It makes me feel good inside," he said.

Detroit is counting on Cleaves to boost ticket sales. It lost Grant Hill to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Ben Wallace and point guard Chucky Atkins.

Cleaves said it would not be a competition with Atkins.

"Whatever it takes for our team to win, that's what we'll do," Cleaves said.

NETS: Soumaila Samake, the 7-foot-1 native of Mali who spent last season in the International Basketball League, signed with New Jersey. Terms of the multiyear contract were not disclosed. Samake, selected 36th overall, averaged 9.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.7 blocked shots in 60 games last season.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk
  • Olympics always prove memorable
  • Rays' slide hits six
  • Culpepper is getting used to feeling like a Bear
  • He's not just a jock 'scooting through'
  • Lindsay's sweet revenge
  • Captain's corner
  • College basketball coaches on move
  • Cleaves officially a Piston
  • Rays shift to silent
  • Citing family, Agassi bows out
  • Aikman will sit against Cardinals
  • Green has extra info on 1 Bears receiver
  • Brooks named NFC Defensive Player of Week
  • Pruett experiences major turnaround
  • Lions QB Batch gets $31-million deal, may start
  • Injury ends season, but not career
  • Martin endears crowd with marathon victory
  • Ludzik enjoys this camp's impending competition
  • Tampa Bay Downs to again raise its purses
  • Cougars enter 2000 with lots of depth
  • Off-season leagues now united
  • Packer has come a very long way in three years
  • Ex-Bogie star's future hinges on test score
  • Class of the County
  • Golf district breakdown
  • Players to watch
  • Ridgewood rolls past Zephyrhills to stay perfect
  • Bulls senior bides her time, gets in shape
  • Wesley Chapel doubles its fun against Citrus
  • Woods aims at rare triple
  • USGA goes distance in clubs debate
  • Metal woods carrying a heavy market share

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts