Former Spartan Star Valentine Embracing NBA Journey

Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine (45) passes against Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich (WLNS) – From Lansing, to East Lansing, to Chicago, Denzel Valentine didn’t stray far to begin his professional career, and is adjusting to playing in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls.

“Everybody pretty much, in this whole organization has made it easier for me” Valentine told 6 Sports Tuesday night, “I’ve got great teammates, great leaders so I can’t complain you know just working hard and just going at it every day pretty much.”

He has had help along the way, from the likes of future Hall of Famer (Bulls guard) Dwayne Wade, and a former Michigan State Assistant (1987-92, 2005-07) who coached his father, Carlton Valentine in the 1980’s, Jim Boylen.

“Well he’s very competitive, very confident, he’s very coachable, and he works hard, so to me, it’s just a matter of time before all those things come together in a really special player” said the veteran coach who served under both Jud Heathcoate and Tom Izzo.

A quarter of the way into his rookie season, Denzel Valentine is thoroughly enjoying the NBA experience, but there’s still plenty he misses about East Lansing and being a Spartan.

“My teammates, um the family like atmosphere at Michigan State you know we were so close there we were with each other every day, you know a lot of hours in the days and um you know we were pretty much as a family there.” Valentine reflected upon his four years at Michigan State.

While Valentine may be missing his Spartan family as members have spread across the NBA, his parents have been supporting him as much as possible.

“I mean I try to get to as many games as I can” said Denzel’s father, Carlton Valentine. “I’m not going on the road, they had like a 6 game road trip where they went for 14 days but the home games I definitely try to get to.”

With just 21 games under his belt, Valentine knows there is a lot of learning left to do, but with his family, and the Spartans behind him, he can reach his goals.

“You know my family is experiencing it, they love it just as much as I am so I’m just trying to enjoy the journey and make the most of it.” Said Valentine.

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