Denzel Valentine is a playmaker.
You donâ€™t have to take it from me; you just have to watch his YouTube videos. Valentine, who has committed to Michigan State as part of the 2012 class including Matt Costello and Kenny Kaminski, has a sweet stroke and a penchant for no-look passes. Heâ€™s also been known to throw down a jam or two on unsuspecting defenders.
Valentine was recently invited to the â€œTop 100â€ camp put on by the NBA Playersâ€™ Association as a means of improving personal games and having an all-around good time with other young, talented players. Costello and Kaminski were at the camp as well, providing the three future Spartans with an opportunity to get to know each other better.
Valentine also saw the camp in a new light.
â€œIt was a reality check,â€ Valentine told Spartan Nation Radio. â€œSometimes you think youâ€™re better than you are, but as soon as you go (to the camp), you instantly know that youâ€™re just one of many. You have to do something to separate yourself [from the rest].â€
Valentine was coached by NBA players Chucky Atkins and Samaki Walker, taking in tips and advice the veterans had to offer. Valentine understands he has areas of improvement on and off the court which he wants to improve before he steps foot on the Michigan State campus in the fall of 2012.
One of those areas involves leadership, and as Valentine described, he needs to be more assertive and attack certain situations rather than just oversee them. He also continues to work on his perimeter shooting, making sure his feet are set and heâ€™s not fading away as much. Considering himself a point-forward, Valentine can bring the ball up on some occasions and still guard the opposing teamâ€™s guards. He thinks he will be able to defend the guards at the Big Ten level once he dons the green and white.
Speaking of the green and white, Valentine admits itâ€™s tough to wait over a year to finally get on the floor at the Breslin Center and help the basketball team in any way possible. His high school team at Lansing Sexton did just win a state title, and while Valentine says he wants to repeat, a part of him also wishes time would fly so he can reach that next level and experience new challenges in his life.
â€œ(East Lansing) is only like 15 minutes away from my house, so Iâ€™m over there a lot, putting up shots and being in the gym and just getting used to being there for four years,â€ Valentine said. â€œAll the players tell me, â€˜Enjoy it while youâ€™re in high school because once you get here itâ€™s not gonna be easy,â€™ but itâ€™s hard.
â€œI just wanna put my forth my effort and try to help (the Spartans) as much as I can right now, but Iâ€™m only a junior.â€
Senior year of high school may be the year that flies by the quickest for most, and before he knows it, Valentine will be on campus as a student-athlete and trying to create a new edition of YouTube clips.