MSU’s Denzel Valentine Says He Models Game After Celtics’ Evan Turner

by NESN Staff

May 14, 2016

Denzel Valentine is heading to the NBA, and apparently that means putting college rivalries in the past.

Valentine is projected as a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft after being named the Associated Press Player of the Year in his senior season at Michigan State. The 6-foot-6 Spartans swingman is in Chicago for pre-draft workouts and on Friday met with the Boston Celtics.

That meeting yielded an interesting comparison from Valentine.

Celtics swingman Evan Turner, of course, is an Ohio State grad who also was named Player of the Year as a Buckeye. But Big Ten rivalries aside, Valentine — a versatile “tweener” who filled several different roles for MSU — sees plenty of similarities between himself and Turner.

“We?re like the same size, same length, he can get down the court and get things done,? Valentine said Friday, via the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy. “Also, he?s a winner. He?s won everywhere he?s went, in the college and the pros. Evan Turner, (Milwaukee Bucks guard) Greivis Vasquez, big guards who can do multiple things. Me and Evan Turner are very similar.”

Valentine very well could be on the Celtics’ radar for their No. 16 overall pick. The 22-year-old stuffed the stat sheet last season with 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game — in a similar mold to Turner, who averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his 2015-16 campaign and was a valuable asset off Boston’s bench.

Turner will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and if he signs elsewhere, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge could look at Valentine as a replacement for the hybrid swingman.

Thumbnail photo via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Michigan State Spartans former player Denzel Valentine waits to judge the dunk contest during the American Family High School Slam and 3-point championship at Dawson High School.
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