Staying home

Ten of the best players in the country chose to play in their home states

November 16, 1999|By SUN STAFF WRITER DON MARKUS | SUN STAFF WRITER DON MARKUS,Sun Staff

1. Mateen Cleaves; Flint, Mich., Michigan State

One of the three remaining "Flintstones" on the Spartans, Cleaves was rumored to be heading to the NBA after last season. Now a senior and among the nation's top point guards, Cleaves suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and is expected to be out for a couple of months. Currently eight assists behind Scott Skiles for first on school's all-time list, third in steals and fifth in three-point field goals. Has his mother's name tattooed on his left shoulder and "Flint" on his right.

2. Terence Morris; Frederick, Md., Maryland

Came to Maryland with a lot of hype after committing orally as a sophomore out of Thomas Johnson High School. Showed flashes as a freshman, scoring 16 points in 24 minutes against then No. 1 North Carolina. Was the team's leading rebounder (7.1) and second-leading scorer (15.3) as a sophomore, and blocked more shots (77) than Wake Forest. The 6-9 junior received 87 of 89 votes for All-ACC first team in the preseason balloting, and was the runaway choice for league's Player of the Year.

3. Quentin Richardson; Chicago, DePaul

After leaning toward Kansas, Richardson joined Bobby Simmons and Lance Williams to become one of three locals to start for the Blue Demons last season. Richardson led the team in scoring (18.9) and rebounding (10.5) as a freshman, finishing with 16 double doubles. The 6-6 swingman will likely play more guard than forward this year, and is considered a consensus first-team All-American. Stayed home to be close to his father and sister after his mother died six years ago. His father is a conductor on the L train that passes by the campus.

4. Michael Redd; Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State

Grew up rooting for Michigan's "Fab Five," but stayed home to play for the Buckeyes after seeing other high school stars leave town. The 6-6 guard has started all 66 games in his first two years, and averaged 39.3 minutes a game as a freshman. Became the first true freshman to lead the Big Ten in scoring, and has led the Buckeyes in scoring both years. Has five 30-point scoring games.

5. Chris Porter; Abbeville, Ala., Auburn

After committing to Tigers out of high school, he played two years at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, where he was a first-team All-American as a sophomore. Returned to home state to lift the Tigers to a 29-4 record last season and to the school's first SEC title in 40 years, averaging team-high 16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds. Was named SEC Player of the Year. The 6-7 forward is one of college basketball's best dunkers, as evidenced by the highlight film, tomahawk jam he threw down against LSU.

6. Chris Mihm; Austin, Texas, Texas

Grew up five miles from the campus. Despite being 7 feet, 262 pounds, plays both inside and outside. Was a highly ranked swimmer and tennis player through high school, and was the No. 2 ranked player in Texas as a sophomore. All-Big 12 last season, preseason Player of the Year choice this year. Junior already ranks second in school history in blocked shots (174), needs 62 to set record. Ranked fourth nationally in rebounding last year (11.0). Had 19 double doubles last season, tying two others for tops among Divison I players.

7. Erick Barkley; Brooklyn, N.Y., St. John's

Played at Maine Central Institute after using high school eligibility, and it paid off. As a freshman last season, 6-1 point guard helped the Red Storm advance to its first Elite Eight game since 1985. A member of Big East all-rookie team last season, is preseason first-teamer this year. A finalist for Naismith (under 6-2) and Wooden (among top 25 players) awards. Played on gold-medal World University Games team this summer.

8. Brendan Haywood; Greensboro, N.C., North Carolina

Passed up Clemson and Miami to play for the home state Tar Heels. Gives North Carolina its best big man since Eric Montross. Second behind Rasheed Wallace all-time in field- goal percentage (62.3), his 12 points and 6.9 rebounds should go up this season. Started for World University team. Wears 00. The 7-foot junior is down 10 pounds to 264, lowest weight since coming to Chapel Hill.

9. Mark Madsen; Danville, Calif., Stanford

Nicknamed "Mad Dog" for his relentless style, especially on the boards. The 6-8 senior forward was one of the key players on Cardinal team to make the Final Four two years ago. Led the team in rebounding (9.0), averaged 13.1 points and had seven double doubles last season, and has been named All-Pac-10 the past two seasons. Only returning starter from last season's team. Unfortunately for Stanford, Madsen will be sidelined at least a month with a pulled hamstring suffered last week against Duke.

10. Morris Peterson; Flint, Mich., Michigan State

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