February 1, 2013

Valentine: 'I just let it go'

EAST LANSING - During a meeting with the Michigan State coaching staff earlier this week Lansing Sexton coach Carlton Valentine told his son Denzel Valentine to stop agonizing over past mistakes and move on the next play.

Tom Izzo believes that advice was the catalyst for a breakout game by the 6-foot-5, 220-pound wing, who scored 14 points and added three rebounds, with two assists and just one turnover in a 80-75 victory over Illinois on Thursday.

"That was Valentine's best game, and I am going to give his dad some credit," said Izzo. "We asked his dad to come over and talk about how we could help him, because he has been struggling. His dad was a true coach, awesome, awesome guy."

Carlton Valentine downplayed his role.

"He really shouldn't have given me any credit," said the elder Valentine, a four-year letterwinner at Michigan State from 1985-1988. "I just told Denzel the same thing that coach (Mike) Garland, coach (Dwayne) Stephens, and coach Izzo told him."

Denzel Valentine, who was coached by his father at Lansing Sexton for four years, says his dad's presence at the meeting meant as much as anything that was said.

"The coaches felt like he needed to hear (what they were saying) because he can help me out and I think he did help me out," said the freshman. "In the back of my mind, my dad being there, and knowing that they all really care about me like that brought that to my attention. I thank the coaches and my dad for that meeting that we had."

Carlton Valentine's advice was simple.

"My dad said, 'just get to the next play' because there are so many possessions in basketball," said the 6-foot-5 freshman. "If you make a bad play, so what, there is another play coming up. It is not like coach is going to pull me out right there. If I make a bad play, I just have to make it up on the defensive end, get a rebound, get a steal, get a block, just get something little and then the game will open up for me."

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