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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Izzo on Valentine - Spartman82 spot on...

In February, Spartanman82 made sure we were aware of MSU recruit Denzel Valentine.

What does Izzo think? Here's M-Live...

Michigan State's Tom Izzo can't temper his enthusiam for Lansing Sexton's Denzel Valentine
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 11:15 AM Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 11:36 AM

View full File PhotoLansing Sexton star Denzel Valentine is drawing some crazy comparisons when it comes to his passing ability. We'll find out if they're true beginning next season when the 6-6 point forward takes the floor at Michigan State.EAST LANSING — Somewhere wrapped inside Tom Izzo's monologue this week about incoming recruit Denzel Valentine, Michigan State's basketball coach dropped the line, "I don't want to put a lot of pressure on him, because you never know what's going to happen."

If only Izzo had taken a breath before continuing to gush about the 6-foot-6 Lansing Sexton prospect and cut down on the comparisons to Earvin, as in Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

Among the Spartans' next class, there are more heralded and/or decorated prospects —McDonald's All-American guard Gary Harris and Michigan Mr. Basketball Matt Costello — but perhaps none more intriguing than Valentine.

He's an oversized point guard, known for his gifted passing, and just led a Lansing Public School to its second straight state title. There's some Magic in that.

"He sees the court as good as anybody I've had here, watching him in high school, anybody I've had here, as far as the passes he makes and the unselfishness he has." Izzo said of Valentine, the son of former Spartan Carlton Valentine. "There are a lot of guys that can make plays and make passes, and make other people better, but he can do it exactly when that guy needs it. Whether he's taking the ball out of bounds after the other team makes the basket, throwing it the length of the court. He doesn't need to make the spectacular pass. He can make the wraparound. Can he go behind his back, between his legs. He can do all those things, or he can make a real, simple, easy pass and enjoys both.

"I mean, I called Day‑Day (Draymond Geen) a miniature, miniature, miniature Magic in a lot of ways. But Denzel has a lot of those qualities that I used to see in films of Earvin because he's always got his head up. If you watch him play, his head is up from the minute he's about to get the ball — meaning, the ball goes through the basket, and he's already got his head up looking at where he's going to outlet the ball to. If he's got the ball in his hands, he sees everybody, everything, and can make a simple pass. He's big enough to see over people."

The question about Valentine is what position does he play in college? If he truly possesses Magic-like qualities, shouldn't he be a point guard? Some see him more on the wing for the Spartans, at least while Keith Appling is around.

Perhaps Michigan State's greatest attribute this past season was its unselfishness, and that began with Green at power forward and Derrick Nix at center as much as anywhere else on the floor.

"If you watched any of the Class A or Class B State Championship team, you've got to give Sexton a lot of credit for the unselfishness," Izzo said. "And it was led by their star, who I think will be coming here to be a very, very good player even as a freshman. That's Valentine. I've never seen a player that passed the ball and was as unselfish."

So much for tempering enthusiasm.


  1. He's been 6'5", but I saw a report this month saying he is 6'6". (His Dad is 6'6".)

  2. Take a look at some of the photos here at this link, especially numbers (7), (15), (18), (28), and (29):

    Consider him at point guard, and ask yourself which point guards in recent history did MSU have who could simply rise up and jam?

    6'5", maybe 6'6" Point Guard...


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