Former Michigan State Basketball Star Denzel Valentine Wins LBA Championship

Former Michigan State men's basketball guard Denzel Valentine won the Lega Basketball Serie A championship.
Feb 8, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine (45) shoots against Washington Wizards center Alex Len (27) during the first half of an NBA game at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 8, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine (45) shoots against Washington Wizards center Alex Len (27) during the first half of an NBA game at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan State basketball guard Denzel Valentine and Olimpia Milano won the Lega Basket Serie A (LBA) championship last week. Olimpia Milano has now three-peated and won their 31st championship in team history.

Valentine was a very accomplished college player while in East Lansing, winning the 2016 AP Player of the Year award, 2016 Big Ten Player of the Year award and the 2016 Julius Erving Award.

Valentine would then be drafted 14th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2016 NBA draft. He had a tough time adjusting to the NBA style of play and struggled to find significant minutes with the Bulls or the Utah Jazz in 2021.

After spending time in the G League and in Australia playing in the NBL, Valentine would sign with Olimpia Milano, where he would play alongside other former NBA players like Nikola Mirotić and Shabazz Napier. 

While playing for Olimpia Milano, Valentine didn't see much playing time, as he would only appear in four games with the team. In those four games, he averaged 8 minutes per game and only scored 3.8 points per game.

Valentine would also go two games without scoring in only 5 minutes of playing time in both games. His best game came against Givova Scafati Basket when he scored 13 points in a blowout 99-77 victory.

Though he only appeared in four games, there is hope that Valentine could be back and playing in the NBA again. On June 13, Valentine was selected by the Valley Suns in the NBA G League expansion draft. Other former NBA players Emmanuel Mudiay and Jhalil Okafor were also selected to play for the Valley Suns.

With that in mind, Valentine can try to make an incredible comeback to the NBA. He's had quite the journey since his days at Michigan State, from being out of the league to playing in the G-League to playing overseas to now being back in the G League. Only time will tell how the future will unfold for him and his basketball journey.

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Published
Luke Joseph

LUKE JOSEPH