His gaping smile and his gifts on the basketball court helped Mateen Cleaves lead the Michigan State basketball team to the NCAA National Title in 2000 for Coach Tom Izzo.

Now he will be playing for something much bigger, his freedom after being charged with several felonies including sexual assault and false imprisonment. The alleged assault of the 24-year-old woman took place in September in Mundy Township and was investigated by the Wayne County prosecutor’s office after the Genesee County Prosecutors office recused themselves for conflicts of interest.

Cleaves was charged by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office after a lengthy investigation with with several felonies including: unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Cleaves was on the only team to win a National Championship for Coach Izzo. MSU will begin this year’s tournament as a second seed in the Midwest on Friday against Middle Tennessee State.

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