Favorite Spartan Athlete Bracket: Mateen Cleaves v. Alan Anderson

The first poll so far to pit two athletes in the same sport against one another, and it's a doozy for Alan Anderson.  He was the play-in poll winner however, and play-in winners usually have tough match-ups in the first round.  Here we go:

Mateen Cleaves

If you've been a Michigan State fan for a decade (or even less), you know how much Mateen meant to the basketball program as a whole.  He's at worst the second-best point guard in Michigan State history.  He set MSU marks for assists and steals on a career. His name is synonymous with the word "leader".  Not only did he play Magic's position, he had a smile to match.  I don't really know what else to say about him -- his tangibles and intangibles on the court were legendary, and it's going to be a long, long time before we see someone with Mateen's caliber of play and charisma take the Breslin Center floor again.

Alan Anderson

The predominant memory haters may have of Alan is him clanking two free throws in MSU's first game of the 2005 Big Ten Tournament, a match that State lost 71-69 to Iowa.  That is completely unfair, so I posted this video of Alan making every shot in a Big Ten game that same season (BONUS: against Wisconsin!).  Anderson had some impressive stats that season, consider this -- during the 2004-2005 season, Anderson ranked second in points per game, second in rebounds per game, first among major contributors in field goal and free throw percentage, and second in three-point percentage.  That's pretty darn versatile.

Anderson bounced between the Charlotte Bobcats and the NBA D-League for two seasons.  From there he played for VidiVici Bologna in the Italian League, Triumph Lybutersy in the Russian League, Cibona Zagreb in the Adriatic League, and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli League.  He made it back state-side after being selected by the New Mexico Thunderbirds with the second overall pick in the 2010 D-League Draft.  Late in 2010 though he signed with Regal FC Barcelona, and alongside Ricky Rubio and Erazem Lorbek led Barcelona to the Spanish Cup championship, being named MVP along the way.

If you would like to learn more about Alan Anderson, I have a YouTube clip of his highlights at Maccabi Tel Aviv set to "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi*...but don't say I didn't warn you.

So who moves on?

*and if you're wondering if that's the most inappropriate song to set to basketball highlights, you're not even close.  That honor's held by Kyle Korver dropping threes to "Drops of Jupiter".

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