Michigan State Basketball: All-time Tom Izzo era starting five, bench
Michigan State basketball has had its fair share of stars over the years, but here’s who would make up the Tom Izzo era all-time starting five.
Over the years, Michigan State basketball has featured some big-time talent. Tom Izzo has gotten the Spartans back on the map after a few down years prior to his arrival. While Jud Heathcote had his fair share of All-Americans and elite players, Izzo has really had a wealth of stars.
Recruiting is something that he’s done fairly well over the years, but he’s really ramped up lately. He went from getting three and four-star recruits to luring McDonald’s All-Americans like he did around the time of his three consecutive Final Fours from 1999-2001
With all of that talent, it would be tough to build his all-time team, but that’s exactly what we’re here to do. Let’s take a look at who would make up the all-time Izzo era starting five and bench (12 players).
Point Guard: Mateen Cleaves, 1996-2000
How could you go with anyone other than Mateen Cleaves? The All-American point guard led the Spartans to their second national title in school history back in 2000. Moreover, he was the Big Ten Player of the Year and went to two Final Fours. He was the ultimate leader.
Cleaves was a highly-touted recruit out of Flint, Mich., and one of the original Flintstones. He came in and became the leader right away, winning the Big Ten Player of the Year award as a sophomore and repeating the honor as a junior.
During his senior season, though, he accomplished his greatest feat by bringing home the national title to East Lansing. He averaged 12.5 points and 6.6 assists per game over his career and became one of the most beloved players Izzo has ever coached.
No one could ever forget the iconic moment in the 2000 national title game against Florida in which he hurt his ankle, went to the locker room, hobbled back out and danced at midcourt with his tongue hanging out of his mouth when the clock ticked down.