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5 Michigan State Can the Flint connection again provide the spark that ignites a championship run?


Michigan State guard Charlie Bell spent part of the summer
playing in a pro-am league back home in Flint, with former
Spartans Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Antonio Smith, but
the Flintstones struggled before taking the title. "It was
tough," Bell says. "Everybody wanted to prove they could beat the

Bell can expect more of the same this season. This may actually
be a deeper and more talented team than the one that won the
national championship last April, but the Spartans' chances of
repeating hinge on whether they can replace Cleaves's leadership.
"Mateen just brought all the intangibles," coach Tom Izzo says.
"We have a very skilled team, but the intangibles aren't there

Izzo hopes that Bell, a three-year starter at shooting guard,
will be a source of those intangibles. For 13 games last season
Bell did a very good job of running the offense while Cleaves was
out with a broken foot; he should ease the way for freshman
Marcus Taylor to take over the point. Taylor is a Lansing, Mich.,
native who, when he was 10, attended the summer camp of Magic
Johnson in Los Angeles for a week and stayed at Johnson's house
while he was there.

Michigan State also brings back leading rebounder Andre Hutson
and swingman Jason Richardson, who is poised for a breakout year,
in addition to three reserves who averaged at least 13 minutes
per game last season: center Aloysius Anagonye and swingmen Mike
Chappell and David Thomas.

Bell, however, likes to work on jigsaw puzzles in his spare time,
so he understands it's not enough to have the pieces. They also
have to fit together. "We have a lot of weapons," Bell says. "If
we can get clicking, I think we have a chance to win it all


COLOR PHOTO: AL GOLDIS DRIVING AMBITION Heavy losses by the Spartans will also mean increased opportunities for stars-to-be like Richardson.



SF Jason Richardson 6'6" So. 5.1 ppg
PF [*]Andre Hutson 6'8" Sr. 6.2 rpg
C Zach Randolph 6'9" Fr. 23.7 ppg*
SG [*]Charlie Bell 6'3" Sr. 11.5 ppg
PG Marcus Taylor 6'3" Fr. 26.0 ppg*

1999-2000 record: 32-7 Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 1
[*]Returning starter *As a high school senior