When you put up a performance that attaches your name to Magic Johnson, Draymond Green and Charlie Bell, you know you had a pretty solid week.
In light of Denzel Valentine’s triple-double showing in Michigan State’s 79-73 win over fourth-ranked Kansas last Tuesday at the Champions Classic, the Sparty senior is the CBS Sports Player of the Week in college basketball.
Valentine’s 29/12/12 line against Bill Self’s team marked the first time any player had put up a triple-double on Kansas since — well, there you go — Magic Johnson during MSU’s championship 1978-79 season. In fact, Valentine’s triple-double was only the second time the Jayhawks program had allowed a player to put up at least 10 points, rebounds and assists. Kind of amazing!
Afterward, Magic got on the phone and dialed up Denzel.
Excuse @denzelval45 while he takes a call from @MagicJohnson congratulating him on a @MSU_Basketball huge win vs KU! pic.twitter.com/7YkRiPXCPB
— Brooke Weisbrod (@BrookeWeisbrod) November 18, 2015
It was Valentine’s first college triple-double, and his 29 points and 12 assists were career bests. In fact, he’d never had more than nine assists in a previous game … so then he followed that up with another double-digit assist output, dishing 11 dimes in addition to seven points and seven boards in MSU’s 92-46 home win over Arkansas Pine Bluff on Friday night. Had the game not been a blowout, it’s very possible Valentine could have recorded back-to-back triple-doubles.
In light of how he’s played through three games, perhaps ranking Valentine No. 13 in our Top 100 (and one) players in the nation was too low. Valentine, Grayson Allen, Ben Simmons and Buddy Hield are early frontrunners for Player of the Year. But there’s so much time to go — and now we get to some more fun with Thanksgiving week tournaments over the next five days.
Previous winners this season of the CBS Sports Player of the Week:
Week 1: Grayson Allen, Duke