Now that the dust has settled from another NBA Draft and a whole bevy of former NCAA players will make their way into the world of professional sports, it’s inevitable that many of the former college stars who may have fizzled-out early in the NBA will be on hand to doll out advice to the league newcomers.
Well, for former Michigan State Spartan, Draymond Green, who was selected 35th overall in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, there’s one person who’s ready to offer up some advice that may hit closer to home for the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year.
Former MSU superstar Mateen Cleaves.
Cleaves was on hand Thursday in Saginaw, Mich. where Green waited more than three hours to hear his name called after slipping out of the first round due to a number of traded picks and re-examined assessments of team needs. Cleaves’ own story is not entirely a happy tale, but it’s one that certainly every aspiring college player could learn from, no mater what their Alma Mater happens to be.
In 2000, Cleaves was drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons after helping to lead Michigan State to a national championship under head coach Tom Izzo. After being drafted, Cleaves had a number of run ins with the law and wound up having a career that lasted a mere 167 games over parts of six seasons and a slew of different teams. Now a Detroit Pistons analyst for Fox Sports Detroit, Cleaves has turned things around and looks forward to helping young players make that transition into the world of professional sports a more successful one.
So when it came to Draymond Green, arguably the best Spartan since his own time around the turn of the century, Cleaves had some words of wisdom that he hoped Green would earnestly take to heart.
“It’s out of your hands,” Cleaves told Green before this year’s draft. “The only thing you can control is being ready and staying confident in your ability, and that’s all my advice is to him. He’s been playing this game a long time, and don’t worry about the things you can’t handle. If you get traded, you can’t handle that. That’s the business part of it. One thing you can control is being ready at all times.
“That’s why I don’t listen to the naysayers who say ‘he was a bust.’ They don’t know the situation. You can control your own destiny. You can control what you can control.”
When asked about his hopes with his new team in the Golden State Warriors, Green told reporters during a teleconference that he thought he had a lot to bring to Golden State and looked forward to meshing with his new teammates sooner, rather than later.
“I definitely see I could jell with them easily,” Green said. “I want to make the best of my situation. (They) seemed like hard workers out there. … I could tell by the workout. I was happy to get a shot.”
Perhaps with Cleaves’ advice, and his own proven determination, Draymond Green will be a player among the National Basketball Association for many years to come.
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