Denzel Valentine to Michigan State

Dylan Burkhardt

The Lansing State Journal is reporting that Denzel Valentine committed to Michigan State today. Once Michigan State offered Valentine a scholarship, many considered this a forgone conclusion because Valentine’s father Carlton played basketball at Michigan State.

“I felt like I just could have the best career there. Being a hometown kid, pretty much it’s the dream school for everybody that lives in the area,” Denzel Valentine said. “I just talked it over with my mom, my brother, my dad. I got every input, how they felt, and pretty much everybody said Michigan State is the place for me.”

Sam Hosey posted some very interesting quotes from Valentine and his father about the visit to Michigan:

“Michigan came really hard,” Valentine said. “The visit (on August 3) was amazing. They made a video highlight tape of their players. I met the athletic director. They took me to the new (facility) and the (football) stadium. It was great.”

Carlton Valentine echoed his son’s sentiments.

“Michigan came strong, man. I’m serious,” he said. “We were ready to commit right there. Those coaches, they are unbelievable. They treated my family with the utmost respect.

“If I was a player, I would’ve committed. Seriously. The visit was crazy. We pulled up and the coaches met us at the car. Coach (John) Beilein just about did the whole visit himself.”

Valentine wasn’t the only 2012 wing on the Michigan radar so it’s good news that Valentine wrapped his recruitment up sooner than later. Michigan has offered Flint Powers wing Javontae Hawkins and Indiana guard Gary Harris. They are also a strong player in Canadian Nick Stauskas’ recruitment.

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  • We’re second fiddle in Michigan. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

    Beilein can start to construct teams that sneak up on people, in the polls. But eventually he has to start bringing in some top ten-twenty ranked kids.

    Wonder what;s Brandon’s take on all this? My hunch is that he concentrates on stabilizing football and Beilein has a relatively free hand. He won’t disgrace the program, but we could end up shooting for fourth place in the conference for years to come.

  • I have a hard time using this one for the “second fiddle” debate… Kid grew up an MSU fan in EL and his dad played ball there.

  • Adam

    And why wouldn’t we be second fiddle at this point? Unless you grew up a Michigan fan, MSU’s program has been far stronger over the last decade-plus and they have better facilities. At this point we need to hope for good recruits, put together a couple good years in a row, and then we can hope to compete with MSU for kids.

  • Deryl


    I’m pretty new to following M basketball (just since Beilein arrived), but I have the impression that we are second fiddle. I understand your point about this particular kid, but in general don’t we typically lose these battles?

    When I started watching I assumed that once the NCAA sanctions were behind it, this program would eventually be one of the top programs in the Big Ten. Lately I have started wondering if I’m being overly optimistic. What’s a reasonable long term expectation for this program?

  • Brick

    You’ve got to love Michigan fans. If Valentine chooses UM they would complain that he is not top 100, not athletic enough and we need to recruit better to catch up to MSU. He chooses MSU and they are upset that we didn’t get him.

    MSU just signed either their third string two guard or fourth string SF and took themselves out of the running for Tokoto and Harris. They are sure not to offer Hawkins now so I think this should definitely help with him too.

  • aMaized
  • Added some quotes from Valentine to the article… Some interesting stuf.f

  • TheYooper

    Has Michigan been recruiting JP Tokoto at all?

  • DNich

    Does this give us a chance at Gary Harris? He is pretty high on MSU but that ship is probably sailed now.

  • sven

    At least the kid didn’t string us along. I thank him for that.

  • Kenny

    Interesting quote from valentine. Beilein is best at connecting with basketball families.

  • AG2

    If MSU isn’t going to get Gary Harris, does that mean they’re going all out for Matt Costello now?

    Also, there should be no reason why Javonte Hawkins doesn’t commit to us soon, right? I mean, if Michigan and MSU were his top 2 schools and MSU can’t offer him a scholarship anymore, if he doesn’t commit soon does that mean he’s waiting on someone else?

  • Adam

    PG – So what is your strategy? If you are the coach what do you emphasize why it is better to go to Michigan as opposed to Michigan State? I’d love to hear it. #1 Program success.. nope, Michigan has been irrelevant for at least 15 years while MSU has been one of the top 5 programs in the country over the last decade.. #2 Facilities? Nope MSU has some of the best basketball facilities in the country hands down.. Crisler is a dungeon and recruits only get to see digital images of a future practice facility vs. seeing the real thing… #3 Get you to the League? MSU has consistently put players in the league (even though IMO Izzo hasn’t done it enough with the talent that has come through EL), whereas Michigan’s only standing NBA player over the last 10 years is Jamal Crawford and he was only at Michigan for 1 year..

    So what say you? What is your big plan of attack why they should come to Michigan instead of MSU? Sure you might say, come be the star as opposed to just a role player… but there’s a reason kids would rather go to UNC, MSU, Duke, etc. even if they might not be the studs.. at this point Michigan cannot realistically compete for the top tier recruits until they see some more wins and don’t just put blind faith into the program.

    So you say we need to compete with and beat MSU, both on the recruiting trail and on the court? How do you propose we do that?

  • TR

    I think Beilein is a good teacher of basketball but I don’t think the system being used will help win games in the Big 10. Just as Rich Rod found out in football, the Big 10 is about being physical.

    Izzo coaches his players to be physical and tough. The thing about being physical in basketball is that it wears your body down over the course of a game and season. Shooting 3’s at a high attempt rate means a lower shooting percentage as your body is worn down. Shooting 3’s at a high clip is viewed by and large as soft basketball. The defensive system acknowledges that we lose the rebounding battle. Can’t win games if you can’t rebound.

    You gotta have to attack the rim and have an inside game and right now, UM recruits big guys that play on the outside. We have medium sized guys that can play on the inside which means it’s a mismatch in size to have our 6’9″ guy on the perimeter and out 6’6″ type guy strong enough to post (against the opponents 6’10”).

    The team is young and they have time to grow and be better no doubt but, as a poster said, Beilein has never put a player in the NBA. That works against UM. Jamal Crawford didn’t stay at UM a year given he got dinged ineligible by high and mighty NCAA because he lived with a coach to prevent being murdered by a gang like his friend.

    Hopefully, Sims makes it this year so we can change that tune. Hopefully, some of the new recruits can get to the rim as that opens up the long ball and creates fouls.

  • Adam

    Hey now.. let’s not misconstrue my words.. I didn’t say Beilein has never put a player in the NBA. I said MICHIGAN hasn’t had a player make the NBA since J-Craw (and Bernard Robinson for a few years).. I’m not bashing Beilein as a coach.. I’m just saying his back is against the wall with recruiting.. can’t expect to beat MSU for recruits just yet

  • fresh

    joe alexander is in the nba

  • msufan

    I think MSU had cooled on Tokoto and I’m guessing he picks UNC.

    As for Harris a lot of things would have to fall in place for him to come to MSU. MSU needs a big for the class and I’m guessing Costello is more likely to commit to MSU than Harris.

  • I still think Hawkins is a Michigan man, but I could be wrong. Michigan State is always the wildcard, but never underestimate the idea of a school getting in early/first. You know Michigan has given/will give him equal or better treatment as Valentine.

  • That Guy

    Don’t forget Jordan Hare.

  • Brick

    I thought Hare was an MSU lean but it seems like he is looking out of state. This could be a reason for the Costello push. If they were getting Hare, they wouldn’t have any spots left. Hare is a higher rated prospect with a bigger “upside” than Costello so I assume he would be higher on MSU’s list. I’m wondering if UM will make a run at him if Costello takes the last MSU spot.

  • This:

    “You’ve got to love Michigan fans. If Valentine chooses UM they would complain that he is not top 100, not athletic enough and we need to recruit better to catch up to MSU. He chooses MSU and they are upset that we didn’t get him.”

    Pretty much sums up this thread. If anything Valentine committing this early helps us with players we were higher on. Hawkins and Harris always seemed like the players we wanted most, Valentine’s recruitment just moved a lot faster, thus there has been more recent emphasis. Let’s congratulate Valentine on getting a shot to play where his father played, and move on.

  • sullycu

    if javontae hawkins commits then what happens to Yogi Ferrell and Gary Harris? Wouldn’t they be first priorities considering there is only 2 scholarships left. (not saying we’d get them but…)

  • Harris and Ferrell are certainly top priorities.

  • sullycu

    Yeah def. what I thought. But let’s say Hawkins commits tomorrow… then we obviously can’t get both.

  • I wouldn’t be shocked if Michigan redshirted Horford and only took one more in ’11. That would leave three in ’12.

  • sullycu

    Good thinking. They should considering ’12 is a more talented class in my opinion.

  • sullycu

    So 2011… Carlton Brundidge and… Big Man? I would think they would take a big (amir williams hopefully!!) over a wing, considering that they are a little more needy at the 5 and because of all the guards/ wings of the 2012 class.

  • TR

    @ Fresh & @ Adam,
    Not knocking Beilein as a coach but the rep speaks for itself. If you google Joe Alexander, the credit for him advancing to the NBA level is given to Huggins due to a change in strength and conditioning. Right or wrong, his final year at WVU he avg 18 pts and 9.6 rebs in the Big dance for Huggins not Beilein. Beilein helped groom him but doesn’t get the credit for putting him there.

    Same kind of argument Frieder makes for the 1989 UM Championship, he was there for everything but the tourney run but it’s Fisher listed as the coach.

    2012 is a loaded class. MSU has a lot of talented players committed to them, there will be a logjam for minutes. I graduated from UM and it’s embarrassing that so many are running to sit the bench for MSU vs play at UM (simply a numbers game). MSU will have 13 highly regarded recruits beginning the 2011 season. All of them won’t play.

  • Brick

    I wouldn’t be shocked by a Pangos commitment after his Gonzaga visit. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Hawkins and/or Stauskas moved up their decisions as the chips begin to fall. We may be in an MSU type situation where we have one spot reserved for a big and are out of room for everyone else.

    This could get interesting fast. I don’t see how we take Pangos and Ferrell. They are both true points.

  • smance

    Not to be a pessimist but worrying about not having room for Ferrell or Harris falling to us because Valentine went to State is a little misguided (God I hope I’m wrong). I honestly feel we’re just not there yet with top 20-30 guys yet. Once we start winning then fore sure…

  • Adam

    Yeah I’m reluctant to go after Gary Harris/Ferrell. I don’t want another Trey Zeigler situation to happen again where them being top guys drag Michigan along for the ride only for them to pick another school. I wonder if pushing hard for Stauskas/Hawkins/Pangos would be better than waiting for Harris/Ferrell.. In situations like last year, we missed on Zeigler and were left to scramble for Colton Christian.. I’d rather not be scrambling for guys.. Stauskas/Hawkins/Pangos or Ferrell would be quite a class

  • Brick

    That’s not really the point. Valentine to State is part of an overall committment frenzy after AAU season. A bunch of kids who thought they were going to wait a year are all of a sudden going to see offers go away. The second tier kids (out of the top 50) are more likely to jump on an offer before it goes away. My point was that we have offers out to Pangos and Ferrell but only need one point guard. Gonzaga already took a point guard and that could help push Pangos toward a decision. I was saying I can see a situation where we end up backing off the top 20 guys before they make a decision because get committments from others.

  • Beast1530

    I would love to have Ferrell as part of the class. He has the speed and quickness to blow by defenders at will. He has enough of a jump shot to make defender respect his shooting. The only knock is he’s short but if you’re fast and quick, I’d take you on the team.

    Like I said, I’m glad that Michigan didn’t get Valentine because I can see him struggle to get his shot off and is not a great athlete. We’re better off finding a wing player who can slash.

  • To be honest I’m glad Valentine went to MSU. Let’s face it he was not a top recruit. This should help us with other recruits who were looking at both MSU and UM or who are in state players wanting to stay home.

  • Valentine can play the game. Saying he “wasn’t a top recruit” is something you will regret later in my opinion. We’ll see.

  • fresh

    valentine is going to be really really good you can easily see that……..he will have more of an impact on the game when he plays than anybody in that class for state

  • I agree that DV is a solid pickup but my question is, where is Izzo going to find the time to keep all these supers happy? They are so deep on the wing in 2011 and 2012 that playing time has to be an issue for someone. Plus the spartys are chirping about grabbing Harris and Costello. Again, where are all these guys going to be playing? Grab J Hawkins now JB!!!

  • TheYooper

    Valentine was an excellent player who I was hoping would be go to Michigan, but no luck. However, I think Gary Harris is even better than DV and hopefully we have a better shot at him now.

  • Dunno, Brick–lot of assumptions there. I’m not at all upset about Valentine because no one assumed he was ours. And I appreciate that he announced early (don’t see how my post says otherwise). But the fact that we weren’t even in the game–for me–confirms we’ve got our work cut out. And I’m a Beilein supporter from the get-go. But what I said is true: to be a top-tier team we’ll need top-tier players.

  • Adam

    But it’s the chicken or the egg argument Mattski.. can you get the top-tier players before winning alot of games and becoming a top tier team?

  • intrpdtrvlr

    Those comments about UM from the Valentines are pretty remarkable. I don’t know if they make UM fans feel better or worse. Sounds like he loved it but the legacy issue was probably too much to overcome.

  • That Guy

    Michigan could make some serious improvements if they add Harris and Ferrell.

  • I remain really hopeful, Adam. But I’m arrogant enough about Michigan that I think we ought to be able to snag a top-ten guy every now and then. I don’t even think we have to be a top ten TEAM, year in year out, just be in the national conversation, crowding the top 25 from year to year. . . bet that would make Brandon happy, too.

  • Sam

    Just to clear up a couple things:

    1. Yogi Ferrell is a 2012 recruit, not 2011. It seems a couple people are getting his class (and others) mixed up.

    2. While Beilein may not have the greatest recruiting record to date at Michigan, I don’t know where all this bashing comes from. He is bringing in the 4th-ranked class this year after a very poor showing last season. He also has already gotten Carlton Brundidge for 2011, a player that State would love to have. People keep saying that we can’t win any battles against State in recruiting, but if they would look at the facts, they would see that he really hasn’t done a terrible job head-to-head with Izzo. Of the guys that both schools have really been after, I can only really count Draymond Green, Russell Byrd, Carlton Brundidge, Brandan Kearney, and Denzel Valentine. Now, before you go and say “LOOK, State has gotten FOUR of those FIVE guys, let’s look a little deeper here.

    1. Draymond Green – would have been Michigan all the way if not for being a State fan his whole life. Offered at last second by State, commits. Can’t really do much about this.
    2. Russell Byrd – don’t really know a ton about his recruitment, but State won him fair and square (although I still say he is doing himself a disservice by putting himself in that offense).
    3. Carlton Brundidge – a top guard in class, commits to Michigan.
    4. Brandan Kearney – from what I have heard, he was all ready to commit to Michigan until we got Brundidge and ran out of room for him. Therefore chooses his apparent second choice and goes to State. From what I remember, he said something about how it really hurt that he couldn’t go to the school that he really wanted to.
    5. Denzel Valentine – often deemed a State legacy with his dad playing there. Not sure how any coach in the country would have lured him away given what his dad said about Michigan.

    Now we will really see what happens with Costello I think. For some reason I think we have a decent shot at him.

  • georgeesq.

    I think that Costello commits to MSU this week. If he doesn’t, I agree that we have a shot.

  • This is a profile of a kid that is arguably the best in Michigan 2012. Underatted and under the radar but not for long. He will be going to southern carolina prep in charlotte,nc and playing over 35 games and teams like oak hill, finday prep, huntington prep etc. He’s got great size at 6’7 190 for the SF position and is still growing and has a great feel for the game.

  • Tt

    Now Valentine is a top 100 four star recruit! Looks like MSU got Costello and Harris too, LOL!