Denzel Valentine wins the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award
As award season comes to a close for college basketball, officially ending the 2015-16 season, MSU senior guard Denzel Valentine took home another prestigious honor Friday night as he was named the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. Valentine fell short in the voting for the John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award to Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield.
In winning the Julius Erving Award, Valentine beat out Duke freshman Brandon Ingram, Kansas junior Wayne Selden Jr., St. Joseph's junior DeAndre Bembry and LSU freshman Ben Simmons.
This season, Valentine averaged an astounding 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists. Valentine is the first player since assists became a recorded statistic in 1983-84 to record at least 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a season.
Valentine has signed with an agent in preparations for the upcoming NBA Draft. Valentine hired B.J. Armstrong who is an ex-NBA player and the current agent of former MSU forward, and current NBA All-Star with the Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green.
Valentine became the first player to lead the Big Ten in scoring and assists since Iowa's Andre Woolridge did so in 1997. Valentine also ranks fourth in the nation in assists (7.8 apg), eighth in 3-point field goals made per game (3.35) and 11th nationally in 3-point field-goal percentage (.444).
Over his four years Valentine finished his career with 1,645 points, 856 rebounds and 639 assists, becoming the first player in Big Ten history to record 1,300 points, 700 rebounds and 500 assists. Valentine's 639 assists also ranks third-best in MSU history.