Former Spartan basketball legends, Draymond Green and Denzel Valentine were named to the Big Ten Network's All-Decade first team on Wednesday.
Green and Valentine were accompanied by Ohio State's Evan Turner, Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky III, and Michigan's Trey Burke.
Green, who was recently named college basketball's fourth-best rebounder since 2011 by Andy Katz, helped lead MSU to two Final Four appearances, and as a sophomore, he became the first-ever Spartan to win the sixth man of the year honors. He also earned NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) National Player of the Year during his senior campaign.
"He's a perfect example of a four-year guy who got better each year and two qualities that you hope to have in every human being. Tough as nails both mentally and physically and a desire to win. Some players have that quality that winning is the most important," Izzo said. "Everybody preaches it, but only a few lived it. He was a guy who lived it."
The Saginaw native was taken 35th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. He would go on to become a three-time NBA champion and one-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
"Incredible competitor. So ferocious and willing to do whatever it took. He could defend anybody on the court. Great rebounder at 6-foot-6. Crafty scorer and got it done when he needed to offensively," said Pat Forde, a columnist at Sports Illustrated.
Michigan State retired No. 23 before they hosted Duke in East Lansing on December 3, 2019.
Valentine won the 2016 AP Player of the Year award along with the 2016 Big Ten Player of the Year. He played four years at MSU and averaged 19.2 points, 7.8 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game during his senior campaign.
He was a major factor in Michigan State's Final Four run as a junior where he averaged 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.
"Denzel Valentine, to me, is a Swiss army knife. He could do a little bit of everything. He could guard, he could score, he could facilitate. He was the national player of the year," said former Big Ten standout and BTN analyst Robbie Hummel. "It's amazing when you're looking at Michigan State how much talent they've had over the last 10-15-20 years."
Valentine was taken by the Chicago Bulls 16th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.
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