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Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Valentine verbally commits to OU

Lansing Sexton senior Drew Valentine had multiple college teams after him for both basketball and football all summer. The decision became a lot easier for him after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament back on Aug. 28 in a football game against Holt.
After the injury a few teams backed away and wondered if he would be the same. But Valentine said Oakland stuck by him, which is why he verbally committed to play for the Golden Grizzlies.
“They were the first school to offer me before my junior year,” Valentine said. “They showed a lot of loyalty and earned my trust. When I had my reconstructive surgery on my ACL three weeks ago, (Oakland assistant coach) Saddi Washington was there. That meant a lot to me. Just the fact that they weren’t doubting me and having questions about me coming back. They have been supportive and that’s what I really like about Oakland and that’s where I want to be.”
Valentine is ranked the No. 7 wing player in the state of Michigan by and was a Class A all-state honorable mention as a junior last season. He averaged 15.5 points, 11.9 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for Sexton, which ended the regular season ranked No. 6 in the state in Class A and went 12-0 in the Capital Area Activities Conference.
“I’m extremely happy,” said Carlton Valentine, who is Drew’s father and high school coach. “I’m flabbergasted. I’m happy for Drew and I’m happy for Oakland basketball. Drew is a hell of player, an athlete and a leader. I say that as his coach, but I’m also his dad. I know what type of player Oakland is getting. He is going to give you every inch he has and his leadership abilities are unbelievable.”
Carlton said he had a lot of conversations with Drew over the last three years on what college to chose, but he ultimately left the decision up to Drew.
“Where you go to school has nothing to do with where you play basketball,” Carlton said. “He has to be comfortable socially, academically and comfortable with the basketball coach and the program. He added everything up and chose Oakland. Coach (Greg) Kampe is a hell of a coach. He built that program from the ground up and he’s not going anywhere. I’m looking forward to him developing Drew into a solid basketball player.”
Carlton said Drew played all five positions for him last season and is a very versatile player.
“He handles the ball extremely well, he can pass the ball and he can score in a variety of different ways,” said Carlton, who added he is very hard on his players and doesn’t give accolades unless a kid has earned them. “He makes everyone around him better. He is very unselfish. He probably could have averaged 25 a game, but he does what it takes to make the team better.”
Drew was also a standout football player for Sexton. Last season he set a single-season school record for passing yards, helped lead the Big Reds to a CAAC championship and a district championship.
He will miss the rest of the football season this year, but expects to be cleared to play basketball in January.
“I’m already ahead of schedule and I’ll probably be ready to go in December, but they probably won’t clear me until January so I’ll only miss a few games,” Drew said.
Drew has plenty of goals for his senior year and his college career. He already knows several of the current Oakland players and was in the same AAU program, the Michigan Mustangs, as Oakland freshman Blake Cushingberry and Drew Maynard. He said along with those guys he wants to help the Grizzlies continue to build a solid program.
“ I just want to help them keep doing what they are doing,” Valentine said. “Help build the program into one of the best, win some conference championships and make it to the NCAA tournament.”



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