Checking in on recent pro Spartan basketball players
Former MSU basketball players have made their mark at the next level in various ways this past week. While more established players in the NBA, such as Draymond Green and Zach Randolph, continue their careers, more recent Spartan athletes are attempting to solidify their careers in basketball.
Here is an update on former MSU basketball players and what they have been up to.
Denzel Valentine | Class of 2016 | Chicago Bulls
Since being drafted No. 14 by the Chicago Bulls, Valentine has experienced a roller coaster of minutes. As the NBA regular season is coming to a conclusion, the Bulls have won four straight games, moving from the No. 10 seed to the east to now the No. 7. With five games remaining, Valentine and the Bulls look to cement themselves in the playoffs.
Valentine has helped the Bulls in their recent streak, scoring eight points against the New Orleans Pelicans, 13 points against the Atlanta Hawks and 12 points against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This season Chicago swept Cleveland in four total games, the first time a LeBron James team has been swept by a divisional opponent.
His most valuable ability is his 3-point shooting, because the Chicago Bulls are No. 26 out of 30 NBA teams in 3-point field goal percentage and dead last in 3-pointers made. In the month of March, Valentine had six games that he made at least three 3-pointers.
Matt Costello | Class of 2016 | Iowa Energy
Undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, Costello has bounced around in his young career. He played for the Atlanta Hawks’ summer league team and was later signed, however was waived last October after appearing in two preseason games. The Memphis Grizzlies signed him three days later, but again he was waived four days after that. Since then, Costello has played for the Iowa Energy in Des Moines, Iowa, the NBA Development League affiliate for the Grizzlies.
Through 23 regular season games, Costello averages 9.5 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game. He has 12 double-doubles, including the last three games, and in the Energy’s last match-up against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Costello broke the Iowa Energy single-game rebounding record with 25 rebounds. He also added 17 points and four blocks to his credit.
Branden Dawson | Class of 2015 | Hapoel Tel Aviv
Dawson has had a rocky start to his professional basketball career after being drafted No. 56 in the 2015 NBA Draft. On draft night, Dawson was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans but was traded that evening to the Los Angeles Clippers.
After averaging a double-double in the summer league, Dawson signed a two-year deal with the Clippers, but saw little action that season. He made his debut against the Washington Wizards and scored his first points against the Philadelphia 76ers. After one season in the NBA, Dawson was waived by the Clippers. In his time in the City of Angels, he was arrested for suspicion of felony spousal abuse, but was never charged.
Dawson experienced a month long stint with the Orlando Magic, and this season he played for the Erie BayHawks. He was waived from the BayHawks on March 29, and was signed to Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel on March 31.