Michigan State forward Denzel Valentine is only hours away from hearing his name called at the 2016 NBA Draft. But before Valentine will join the association, he received one last collegiate honor.
Valentine was named the Big Ten’s Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday.
Congratulations to Denzel Valentine – the 2016 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year. pic.twitter.com/ff1RfIn3bw
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) June 22, 2016
Valentine is just the third Michigan State male athlete to win the award since its inception in 1982. The other two recipients were goaltender Ryan Miller and fellow Michigan State basketball alum Draymond Green. Miller spent the past season with the Vancouver Canucks, while Green’s Golden State Warriors recently fell short of its second-consecutive NBA championship run.
Valentine averaged 19.2 points, 7.8 assists and 7.5 rebounds during his final season in East Lansing, Mich. He helped lead the Spartans to a Big Ten tournament championship, but their season ended shockingly at the hands of 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee State. Valentine is expected to be drafted in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft.