The Curse of the Ford Explorer Continues

Submitted by BursleyHall82 on March 15th, 2016 at 6:46 PM

It's been almost exactly 20 years since Maurice Taylor's Ford Explorer flipped over on Feb. 17, 1996, sending our basketball program into the depths. Bad news continues to plague the people who were in the vehicle that day:

Mateen Cleaves, the recruit who was out for a good time that night, was charged today with sexual assault, and the case sounds nasty.

Maurie Taylor was banned from the Michigan program for 10 years after being implicated in the Ed Martin scandal.

Louis Bullock suffered the same punishment - banishment for 10 years.

Robert Traylor died in 2011.

Only Willie Mitchell and Ron Oliver have escaped the curse. I have no idea what Mitchell is doing now, but Google says that after tranferring from U-M to UAB, he spent a lot of years bouncing around basketball's minor leagues and foreign leagues. I hope he's OK.

Ron Oliver appears to be doing great. He's currently the Director of Basketball Operations at Florida Atlantic after spending 15 years in various positions in the NBA and college.



March 15th, 2016 at 8:07 PM ^

Think of all the great mentors, coaches and players that come before you.  People you respect for their life accomplishments and their character.  The overwhelming majority of people who choose to honor someone by naming their child after them does so based on that respect and body of work.  Surely Izzo considered his dad, uncles, grand parents, etc. in addition to people who taught him in basketball.

But, Izzo chose a kid from a troubled city, involved in the Ed Martin scandal, to be the namesake for his child.  It is kind of a trailer trash type move when you think about it...


March 15th, 2016 at 9:56 PM ^

18-22 year olds.  I know and graduated with several, most of them never got in trouble again, some are doing time for stupid things they did as adults later in life.


You simply can't tell what someone's judgement is going to be latter in life when they have different priorities and different responsibilities from a 20 year old kid.


March 15th, 2016 at 9:48 PM ^

after their "other son" under normal cucumstances? You build a bond with a student/player/son but that is really odd. the bond usually involves the student looking up to and respecting the teacher for the rest of their life. the teacher is usually the influencer.... of course it was his national title. what does that say?


March 15th, 2016 at 11:37 PM ^

I never understood naming a child after someone else who isn't a blood relative who (preferably) isn't around anymore. I share a paternal name and we've talked about middle names for our kids, but I've never even thought about naming any of them after someone I worked with or knew for a long time. It just seems like a recipe for, well, having to tell your son that his middle name is shared by a middle basketball player and accused sexual assaulter.


March 15th, 2016 at 6:54 PM ^

Wow. Interest curse analysis. I think we got the bad end though.

Actually Cleaves had legal issues while in college. They just didn't amount to anything because the angry midget ran east landfill back then too.

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March 15th, 2016 at 7:09 PM ^

Considering Izzo's history of enabling and covering up sexual assault, I am not surprised that one of his graduates is in "trouble."  

Boner Stabone

March 15th, 2016 at 7:13 PM ^

 The Ingham County Prosecutor cannot bail him out this time.  Sounds like Mateen will have to find some of Izzo's legal dream team to help aquit him for this.

Everyone Murders

March 15th, 2016 at 7:25 PM ^

Don't say mean things!  Mateen Cleaves came back in the NCAA Finals with a sprained ankle!  He's a hero!!

(I remember at the time wanting to break the TV in the pub I watched that game at, while the announcers were felating Cleaves for playing on a sprained ankle.  How many people have played competitive basketball on a sprained ankle?  Just about every person who ever played competitive basketball.  And who would not get back on the floor to finish an NCAA Final game?  Nobody who ever played competitive basketball.

But the announcers acted like he was a demigod.  I hope the allegations aren't true, but Cleaves has had a tremendous amount of smoke blown up his ass over the years.  That certainly can lead to a sense of entitlement.)


March 15th, 2016 at 7:18 PM ^

The case had to be removed from Genesee county. I will note that Kym Worthy ... The Wayne County Prosecutor who took down Keame.. received her bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Notre ...

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Bill Bafferty

March 15th, 2016 at 8:40 PM ^

She graduated from Michigan? Then this is a clear case of false accusations to smear Staee' s name.

Seriously, if you want to doubt the future or our society check out their thread on this. Still drawing comparisons to Michigan. Actual quote "rape is much worse than sexual assault."

Wolverine In Iowa

March 15th, 2016 at 8:53 PM ^

I loved Latin - I took it in 7-9th grades, and it changed my life.  I struggled with English grammar (like sentence diagrams and other useless crap) until I got thrown into the bonfire of declensions and conjugations.  I picked up French, Russian and German pretty quickly after my Latin beatdown.

Ty Butterfield

March 15th, 2016 at 9:17 PM ^

Still never sat right that Mateen "happened" to be in that Ford Explorer. I think he was already working for Izzo undercover and flipped the Explorer on purpose.

Mateen: "The chicken is in the pot."

Izzo: "Cook it."


March 16th, 2016 at 1:09 AM ^

I don't know what it says when two of the most disappointing athletes in the 90s (Willie Mitchell and Tyrone Butterfield) used to hang out together up on the 8th floor of South Quad.