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Mateen Cleaves, a former Michigan State basketball star who was the hero behind the 2000 national championship team, is being investigated for sexual assault, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office confirmed Saturday.

The case is in Wayne County's hands, because Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton has a conflict of interest. He is an acquaintance of the alleged victim, according to MLive, which first reported the story.

"We are in the process of reviewing the warrant request at this time," Maria Miller, Wayne County Prosecutor spokeswoman, told The Detroit News.

Cleaves' attorney, Frank J. Manley, said he's expecting Cleaves to be cleared.

"It is unfortunate that this complaint was made public," Manley told The News in a text message. "We would ask that opinions be reserved until all the facts are disclosed. We expect a positive resolution."

Cleaves, 38, is a Michigan Sports hero, having starred at Flint Northern before becoming a household name at Michigan State.

In 2000, he led the Spartans to a national title -- the second in program history -- playing through a leg injury in the second half of the championship win over Florida.

The image of Cleaves and Tom Izzo, embracing and crying after the title victory, is one of the lasting images from that season.

Cleaves was the No. 14 overall pick by the Pistons in 2000, and had a 10-year pro career, most of which was spent in the NBA's Development League.

He was with the Pistons, Kings, Cavaliers and SuperSonics, back when Seattle still had a team.

He retired in 2009, and in 2010, he joined Fox Sports Detroit as a Pistons analyst. He now hosts a show on SiriusXM and is an analyst for CBS Sports.

In 2013, he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

tpaul@detroitnews.com
twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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