Valentine looking to shine

By Tom Murphy Jr.

In order to balance the delicate situation of being father and coach, Carlton Valentine instituted the “24 hour rule.” Valentine, the men’s head basketball coach at Lansing Sexton is the father of senior forward Drew Valentine who recently committed to Oakland University.

“It’s kind of tricky sometimes,” said Carlton. His son Denzel, a freshman, also plays on the varsity team. “After a game or after practice if there’s something that I want to discuss or I need to discuss, I will not discuss it for 24 hours in order to make it fair for me to be their father as well.”

Drew said that he is happy that his father is his coach.

“My Dad is my biggest influence,” Drew said. “He’s always been there behind me. He taught me to always be positive about things and look at the big picture and not just in the heat of the moment.”

But he also said that having your father as your coach can be difficult at times.

“My teammates feel bad for me because he is on me the most,” Drew said.

Valentine is a two-sport athlete at Sexton. He was the starting quarterback for the football team. But in the first game of the season he injured his ACL and was forced to miss the season. It was at that point that many of the major universities began to back off recruiting him.

OU assistant coach Saddi Washington, who graduated from Lansing Sexton, refused to give up on Valentine despite his injury.

“Ironically enough I am a product of an ACL tear. I tore both my ACLs during my playing career,” Washington said. “So I understood that there was life after that type of injury. Drew is the type of kid that has always been a hard worker, he’s a tough kid.”

Washington also played basketball at Western Michigan and in the NBA (Atlanta 2005 and Denver 2001). He visited Valentine in the hospital while he was recovering from surgery.

“It made me want to commit [to OU] right away,” Valentine said. “It showed the fact that they would always be there for me and always have my back.”

Valentine said that he is recovering well and is expected to be practicing again in a week or two.

He is a 6-foot-5inch 200-pound versatile athlete. At times he has played all five positions for Sexton but at OU he will most likely be used on the wing.

Geoff Kimmerly, prep sports editor for the Lansing State Journal said that he has watched Valentine play quite a few times.

“In high school he does end up in the post a lot because he’s bigger than most guys,” Kimmerly said. “For being that size he is very athletic. He jumps really well, he can pull guys out to the perimeter because he can shoot a little bit and get to the basket. I think in college they are saying that he will be a (shooting guard or small forward) type of guy.”

When Valentine joins the Grizzlies next season he will be competing for playing time, according to Washington.

“The one thing that [OU men’s basketball head] coach [Greg] Kampe preaches to any incoming freshman during the recruiting process and even after we get them is that there is always an opportunity here,” Washington said. “A lot of it is going to depend on Drew and his ability to get physically ready both from his [injury] standpoint and from his physical strength standpoint and how well he picks up the defensive and offensive concepts, but the opportunity is there.”