Top 10 Top College Players Who Failed in the Pros

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6. Mateen Cleaves

College: Michigan State. Averaged 12.5 ppg and 6.6 apg over four years, Big Ten career assists leader with 816, Most Outstanding Player of the 2000 Final Four, three-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year.

NBA Draft: Detroit Pistons, 14th overall in 2000.

NBA: In 6 seasons, played in 167 games, 3.6 ppg, 1.9 apg, 38.9 percent shooting, 26.7 percent 3-point shooting.

Mateen Cleaves was a high school star who won a state championship for Flint Northern. Brimming with leadership ability, the charismatic point guard took Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad to the 2000 NCAA title and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. The fairy tale took its next logical step when the local Detroit Pistons drafted him in the first round.

In a creditable first year during which he played 78 of his career 167 games, Cleaves participated in the NBA Rookie All-Star Game. Though a master distributor and fabulous teammate, Cleaves, at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, simply lacked the shooting range and quickness required of a successful NBA guard. He lasted parts of five more seasons with three more teams and finished in 2009 as a D-Leaguer.

Top 10 College Players Who Failed in the NBA

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