Tom Izzo’s 2012 Michigan State Recruit Denzel Valentine is Emerging as a Star!

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The son for former Spartan great Carlton Valentine, Denzel has grown up before our eyes.  Photo courtesy of Valentine.

The son for former Spartan great Carlton Valentine, Denzel has grown up before our eyes. Photo courtesy of Valentine.

Denzel Valentine is a playmaker.

You don’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. He’s also been known to throw down a jam or two on unsuspecting defenders.

Valentine was recently invited to the “Top 100” camp put on by the NBA Players’ 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.

“It was a reality check,” Valentine told Spartan Nation Radio. “Sometimes you think you’re better than you are, but as soon as you go (to the camp), you instantly know that you’re just one of many. You have to do something to separate yourself [from the rest].”

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 he’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 team’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 it’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.

“(East Lansing) is only like 15 minutes away from my house, so I’m over there a lot, putting up shots and being in the gym and just getting used to being there for four years,” Valentine said. “All the players tell me, ‘Enjoy it while you’re in high school because once you get here it’s not gonna be easy,’ but it’s hard.

“I just wanna put my forth my effort and try to help (the Spartans) as much as I can right now, but I’m only a junior.”

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.