Valentine honored as top coach under 30


Courtesy of Neal Ruhl

Alumnus and current men’s basketball assistant coach Drew Valentine received an award for being named 2017 Under Armor 30-under-30 team.

Oakland men’s basketball assistant coach Drew Valentine has been named to the 2017 Under Armour 30-under-30 Team. Valentine joins predecessors Jon Scheyer of Duke University and Greg Paulus of Ohio State University.

The award was presented by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Sunday, April 2 at the AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show. The event was held at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix during the annual NABC Convention and was held in concurrence with the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

“It’s an honor,” Valentine said. “It’s very humbling, and it makes me feel lucky that I’m in a position to have a coveted position coaching Division I basketball at such a young age.”

During his time on the Oakland men’s basketball team, Valentine was named the All-Time Winningest Player in school history, made back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament in 2010 and 2011, and won 87 games during his four years at Oakland. By the end of his career, Valentine had played in 136 games, the second-most in school history.

When Valentine graduated from Oakland in May 2013, head coach Greg Kampe said he believed Valentine would make a good basketball coach. Kampe contacted Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and told him about Valentine. Soon after, Valentine was accepted as a graduate assistant for the MSU men’s basketball team.

“I thought, as a leader, he was one of the best I ever had, and he’s very knowledgeable and wanted to coach,” Kampe said. “So Tom [Izzo] took him as a GA, we got him back after two years, and now, he’s been with me for two years. The award that he got was most deserving. I do think he’s one of the top coaches in the country under 30 years old. I think that his future is very bright.”

At the age of 24, Valentine was hired by Kampe on July 1, 2015 and became the youngest full-time assistant basketball coach in Oakland history. He has just finished his second season as a member of the men’s basketball coaching staff. Since he joined the staff, the Golden Grizzlies have won 48 games and their first-ever Horizon League regular season championship.

“I’ve been able to recruit some good players,” Valentine said. “Our players don’t look at me like I’m too young to be out here. They respect me, and I’m really lucky they allow me to [coach them].”

Valentine said the award not only recognizes him, but the Oakland men’s basketball program, as well.

“I think that for me to be on the team, and for me to be the person speaking on behalf of [Oakland Athletics] at the NABC Guardians of the Game Show, shows how respected and strong our program is nationally, our brand and coach Kampe,” Valentine said. “Our players are the reason why I’m able to get an award like that.”

Since working alongside Kampe, Valentine said that he views him as a mentor who has helped him become the coach he is today.

“I think he has the blueprint for success, and everybody has it a little differently,” Valentine said. “I worked at Michigan State for Coach Izzo, and he does things one way, and being here working for coach Kampe, he does things [another] way. It’s just an honor to work under somebody that’s had such a great career.”

Looking to the future, Kampe said that Valentine has the potential to be a head coach at a Division I university someday.

“Drew [Valentine] has a bright future, whether he stays at Oakland in the long term or whether he leaves in the short term and moves up the coaching ranks,” Kampe said. “I do think Drew will be a head coach at a Division I institution before his time is done. I think he’s going to be a superstar in the business.”