The 1999-00 Michigan State Spartans were a lovable and memorable team, one which rebounded from some early-season struggles to win 23 of its final 26 games and capture the national championship. The Spartans were led by head coach Tom Izzo and charismatic point guard Mateen Cleaves. The squad featured three NBA first-round draft picks and dominated in the NCAA Tournament, winning all six games by double-digits.
It's been more than 15 years since the green and white cut down the nets in Indianapolis. Izzo remains a fixture on the sidelines in East Lansing, where he's reached four more Final Fours. But what happened to the 13 players and three assistant coaches who were part of that championship team? We've tracked down the whereabouts for all of them, and will take you through what they've been up to, beginning with the starting backcourt.
PG Mateen Cleaves
The leader of “The Flintstones”, Cleaves was selected 14th overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played one season with the team before being traded to the Sacramento Kings. Cleaves suited up for the Kings, Cavaliers and Supersonics, last playing in the NBA in 2006. He also had stints in the NBDL and in Europe. Cleaves had his number retired by Michigan State in 2007, and he currently works as a music talent manager and a studio analyst for Inside College Basketball on CBS Sports Network. He also broadcasted games during the NCAA Tournament.
SG Charlie Bell
Bell went undrafted, but would go on to appear in 376 NBA games over a seven-year career, averaging 8.5 points per game. He finished his playing career in Italy in 2012. According to his Facebook page, Bell is “currently a philanthropist volunteering and participating in Mateen Cleaves’ 1 Goal, 1 Passion Summer Basketball Camps, and Hope for the Holidays campaigns across Michigan.” He also contributes to The Bottom Line Sports Show on SiriusXM NBA radio.
SF Morris Peterson
A first-round pick of the Toronto Raptors in 2000, Peterson had a very strong NBA career. He played 10 seasons in the league, averaging 10.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and set the Raptors’ franchise record for career three-pointers with 801. Currently works as an analyst with The Sports Network in Canada, covering the Raptors and the NCAA Tournament.
PF A.J. Granger
Granger, who stepped up and delivered 19 points and nine rebounds in the title game win over Florida, graduated from MSU with a degree in marketing. Since last year, he has served as the Director of Operations for ADP Recruitment Process Outsourcing.
C Andre Hutson
The Bucks selected Hutson in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft, but he never played in the league. Instead, he carved out a lengthy career in Italy, Greece, Russia and Turkey. He’s now the owner of Conquest Health and Fitness in East Lansing, and just completed the inaugural Andre Hutson Basketball Camp earlier this month in conjunction with the East Lansing Basketball Club.
Key Bench Players
SG Jason Richardson
Richardson has had the most NBA success of any of the 2000 Spartans, averaging 17.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game over 13 seasons. He played in 19 games for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2014-15 campaign. Richardson also won back-to-back dunk contests during the 2002 and 2003 All-Star weekends.
SF Mike Chappell
A transfer from Duke, Chappell went on to play in New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Lebanon, Japan and the Ukraine. Currently works in real estate for Peregrine Realty Partners, a West Coast-based group.
SF David Thomas
A native of Canada, Thomas played eight seasons in the Australian NBL and also represented his home nation in international play. He is co-owner of Evergreen Car Wash and Detail, along with former Spartan teammate Andre Hutson, and he served as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations and Technology at Michigan State during the 2014-15 season.
PF Al Anagonye
Since leaving MSU in 2003, Anagonye has embarked on a productive international playing career. He’s suited up for the Nigerian national team, and is currently signed with Stade Olympique Maritime Boulonnais – Boulogne-sur-Mer in France.
C Adam Ballinger
Ballinger has had a very successful career playing the Australian NBL, earning second and third-team all-league honors on multiple occasions and winning the New Zealand NBL league championship in 2009. He signed with the Nunawading Spectres of the South East Australian Basketball League last week.
A fan favorite, Ishbia played in the final minute of the 2000 National Championship, missing his only shot attempt. He’s currently the President/CEO of United Shore Financial Services in Troy, Michigan.
Cherry also saw brief action in the 2000 title game. He has worked for Amway since 2009, where he’s now an associate brand manager for XS Energy Drinks.
A transfer from Coastal Carolina who backed up Cleaves in 2000. Smith currently works for Consumers Energy.
Heath took his first head coaching job at Kent State in 2001, and led the Golden Flashes on a Cinderella run to the 2002 Elite Eight. From there, he went on to Arkansas, where he led the Razorbacks to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006 and 2007. Heath stewarded the program at USF from 2007-08 to 2013-14, reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
Gregory left MSU in 2003 to become the head coach of Dayton. He stayed with the Flyers until 2011 before taking over the reins at Georgia Tech, where he still coaches. Gregory reached a pair of NCAA Tournaments and three NIT’s during his stint at Dayton.
Like Gregory, Garland left the MSU staff in 2003, taking the head position at Cleveland State. He compiled a 23-60 record over three seasons before being fired. He served as an assistant at SMU for one season before returning to Izzo’s staff at Michigan State in 2007, where he’s remained ever since.