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Inside the Call Sam Studios with Mateen Cleaves

I’ll say this up front: Mateen Cleaves is one of my favorite people and athletes. He’s from my adopted hometown in Flint, he played his heart out for my school at Michigan State and, later in life when I was working as a reporter in Flint, Cleaves was always one of the best interviews when it came to making time for me, giving great quotes and allowing me to tell some good stories.

As far as Cleaves’ analyst work on FSD, I’m aware that some people haven’t been the biggest fans of the studio show during Pistons games, judging by some of the jokes I’ve seen on Twitter during games. But I genuinely believe Cleaves has a wealth of basketball knowledge in him. I’ve had the chance to watch him work with young guards at camps in the summer, and it’s unreal the kinds of things he’s able to tell them about playing point guard. He’s not a natural broadcaster, he’s just had a crash course in it over the last year and trying hard to learn on the fly. This series of videos by Eric Woodyard of the Flint Journal should give everyone a better idea about Cleaves’ personality off camera and how badly he wants to succeed for FSD.


  • Apr 8, 201111:22 am
    by BIG MARV


    good ol barbershop talk

  • Apr 8, 201112:30 pm
    by israelpiston


    Two of my sons when to piston basketball camp last summer and Mateen spent a lot of time with the kids at camp and was really friendly and nice
    He is a really nice person

  • Apr 8, 20114:59 pm
    by Jeremy


    I have watched very little of the halftime show this season (after the first month or so) because of how meaningless all the Mateen segments felt. It seemed like everything he said was so basic it was practically cliché. Has he gotten much better throughout the season?
    He does seem like he’s trying hard and he actually comes across like quite a nice person even through the limited, semi-awkward picture that we get of him. If he really wants to be a broadcaster then I think he may benefit from stopping his focus on emulating other broadcasters and start sharing who he is (in terms of personality) and what he knows about basketball and what he sees happening on the court.
    He comes off as a high character person and it’s hard for me not to wish him the best. Just, please, be a little more interesting and insightful with your content!

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