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I started watching Denzel when he was a Sophomore at Sexton. He was just incredible in high school, and you could tell he had that greatness in him. I sat in the Breslin and watched him play in the state tourney his Junior year and thought my God, this kid really does have it all. I've lived around Lansing most of my life, and he's the most complete player I've seen come from here since Magic. Tonight is a case in point with his first double double--10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals.
One of the things I love about Denzel is, he is good throughout the game, but watch him as it gets late in the game. He's such a clutch player and really cranks it up at winning time. This will be his team sooner than later.
Its five o'clock somewhere.
I'm pulling for best in 35 years.
Think he'll be spectacular. Are we not counting Horford though?
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
35 years = when Magic Johnson came out of Lansing area high school basketball.
J can't agree more, Denel is a star. I have not seen a fresan with his head for the game in a long while.
Izzo needs to realize(he will soon) that valentine can and will be the beat player on his team.
Izzo realizes he is special, just like we do. I think it's a stretch to call him the best player on the team when we have Appling, Harris, and Dawson though. He may finish with better career numbers than them, but those 3 are more important to this team's success than Valentine.
He reminds me of a much more fit, shorter Draymond. I'm sure if you added a couple inches to Valentine he would post the same rebound numbers. He has better vision and passing than Day Day, and will hopefully develop a consistent jumper. I see him taking a very similar career path to Draymond, only he seems a year ahead.
I love Valentine and am excited to see how he develops as a great player. However, lets curb the stupid talk about how "Izzo needs to realize" what he has, and Denzel is Magic and Draymond and sorts about that. Magic very well be the best college player of all time, and Draymond in his prime was arguably the best player in the country. Denzel is looking like he might turn about to be an elite and appreciable talent, so lets not muck it up by setting the bar so high that he needs to be the single best player in the entire country. I want to be happy with his success, not disappointed when he only turns out to be the superstar that we may very well have in him. And this "Izzo needs to realize" talk is so annoying, because Izzo knows what he has, and knows how to use what he has, better than any of us. I don't have a whole lot of confidence in a whole lot of coaches that i root for across the board. But Izzo has proven he deserves my respect, and he is one of the few people who I will boldly say I trust truly completely. Izzo is no idiot and he will use Valentine to the greatest benefit for our team, so lets just chill out and let the master use a superstar and enjoy what we see.
I have seen a change already. Denzel was looking to pass darn near every time he had the ball the first three games and now he seems to realize take the shot, not pass if he has it. He is very unselfish like Draymond and he was doing the same thing Draymond often did. He passed up shots he should have taken. I'm hoping what I'm seeing continues and he gets a little selfish and takes those shots more. Best in 35 years? Clearly the best from Sexton. Everett and Eastern still rate higher from Lansing. I would be very pleased if he surpasses Jay and gets in the same paragraph as Magic.
Denzel might be an inch shorter than Day Day, but he is more athletic and jumps higher. I've seen him make dunks that I'd never seen Day Day make.
Payne and Nix are not elite bigs in the sense that they aren't 7 feet tall and guaranteed NBA first-rounders, but if that's your definition you don't need "elite" bigs to win in college basketball. Payne is almost the whole package. He's an elite shot blocker, he has strong moves under the basket, and he rebounds above the rim very well. The only knocks on him are his stamina and his handles, and that can be said of most college players at his position. Nix has elite footwork and post moves. He doesn't play above the rim like Payne, but when that hook shot is falling he doesn't have to.
I don't know about the best in 35 years, but Denzel is the most complete player from Lansing since Magic. Everybody you could name, from Sam Vincent to Robert Henderson to Steve Haney to Marcus Taylor to Al Horford, all were great players but were either guards or bigs, but not both. Denzel can play inside and outside. Back to back state champions was an incredible feat. Those Sexton teams were as good as any teams from Lansing in a very long time. They were nationally ranked.
Valentine is a warrior and a leader. I've heard his dad talk about how hard he worked last year to get himself in better shape with the early morning workouts and the extra gym time. Carlton produced some hard working kids.
Saying Appling and Harris are better than Valentine (which I think) is paying them a large compliment.
I had to go to one of their practices to do some coding for a class (academic, not athletics) and was blown away while watching their practice. They have some great players on their team (probably 5-6 D1 players) and he was mind blowing.
He had a half court no look bounce pass through two defenders, put it on a dime. I have never seen anybody pull something like that off.
Michigan State University is the university of Michigan
Between him, Appling and Harris, we've got some serious alpha dogs at the guard position. And guard play wins in March.
"RCMB: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainry." - some dude from MgoBlog
Those three give MSU a hell of a back court. Just incredible.
Totally believe it. When you watch this kid over a period of time, you will eventually see him do something that blows your mind. His Junior year did it for me. State semis. He brings the ball up court, starts a drive on the right side. The defender comes up and meets him, he pulls out this spin move like a little guard. I as taken aback at how quick and coordinated it was. He put up a nice shot but it did not go in so the play did not end up in a highlight or anything. He comes down in the second half with a hellacious open court tomahawk dunk. I had not realized that he actually can get off the floor so well. He is deceptively athletic. Personally I think its because his body type is so different than a prototypical wing.
I think I remember the tomahawk play. He took a downcourt pass in front of the far end of the scorer's table. It looked like the Country Day deep defender was perfectly positioned to step into Valentine's path to the basket but Denzel caught the ball mid stride, took like one dribble and two huge steps in front of the defender, made what seemed like a 10' long leap and pulverized the rim.
Oh, so you're full of shit, got it.
Now if you saw him play in high school, then you would have seen what I saw.........
When this team is hitting its stride in February and March, the starters will be Appling, Harris, Valentine, Dawson and either/or Payne/Nix as center (probably Nix as the senior captain.) That means you've got Trice and Payne off the bench, Kearney as a defensive sub and Costello as the backup big man. If Byrd develops his game, he'll be the either/or offense/defense with Kearney.
That's a scary, scary team with a lot of depth.
I think it's almost critical for our players to learn to play offense without relying on the team's two best shooters (Trice, Harris) because they'll just be stronger, more experienced and more confident when we get our full unit back.
"Tonight, we show the world what this program is made of!" -- Brian Ellerbe on Mar 4, 2000, the night of scUM's 51-point loss to MSU.
Yup. Back-ups aren't slouches either. I just hope to god these guys can all stay healthy because it will be scary (for other teams).
If Denzel can get that J going, he will be pretty damn good.
What is that, a Titleist? A hole in one...
I've been trumpeting superlatives off Denzel's bandwagon since his junior year highlight reel came out. He's always had skills you just cannot teach. Averaging a half an assist shy of a triple double at the class A level playing in the league he played in...he's been big time elite for a few years now. Once he regained his athleticism and explosiveness following his sophomore year injury, he took his game and next level upside to a whole other level.
I'm not surprised he's showing as much as he is as quickly as he is and quite frankly, he'd be showing even more if he was given the opportunity to have the ball in his hands more but I fully understand why he hasn't been. This is Keith's team and the offense is going to run through him. As the season wears on though, more and more offense is going to start channeling through 'Zel and he's going to thrive in that role.
Izzo called him a poor man's magic johnson months ago. Nice try
"Stats are for Losers." - Pat "Nardawg" Narduzzi
Looks great again against Nichols St
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