East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State basketball is known to have challenging non-conference schedules under coach Tom Izzo and this season is no different.
The Spartans are already scheduled to face Kansas in the Champions Classic, Butler in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, and Louisville in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
But now, MSU will take on Loyola Chicago, led by former Michigan State graduate assistant Drew Valentine, to open the Battle 4 Atlantis.
After finishing his playing career at Oakland, Valentine was a GA in East Lansing from 2013-15. In addition, he's the son of Carlton Valentine, a former Spartan standout, and brother of Denzel Valentine, a recent MSU star.
He became the youngest coach in DI basketball when he took over for Porter Moser, who left to become the head coach at Oklahoma.
"Drew Valentine is one of the great young coaches in college basketball, and I just think it's a natural for Loyola Chicago to name him as its next men's basketball head coach," Izzo said in a press release. "He's been with their program for four years and has been such an important part of their success during this run. He has a great mind for the game and is just a high-energy guy who is a tremendous leader for the kids who play for him.
"Obviously, we know the Valentine family, and they are terrific. Both his father, Carlton, who I recruited, and his brother, Denzel, who became a national player of the year, played here at Michigan State. I've known Drew since he was 5 years old, and while is he just 29-year-old, I think he is much older and wiser because of all of his experience. Having had the opportunity to work at MSU as a graduate assistant while his brother played here allowed him to learn how to separate himself and helped him grow his own voice as a coach. Drew Valentine is a winner, and I have no doubt that he will continue to do just that for Loyola."
Michigan State went 15-13 last year, just barely extending its streak of NCAA Tournament appearances to 23. Following a loss to UCLA in the First Four, the program experienced significant turnover, losing four players to the portal, one to retirement, and another to the NBA Draft.
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