Valentine putting in film room work

Sophomore guard working on finding role, cleaning up game. He and Izzo talk about his development and finding a role.

Nursing a one-point lead, Michigan State's Denzel Valentine came around a screen and knocked the ball loose from Minnesota's Austin Hollins.

After hitting his free throws, Valentine came back to the defensive end and blocked the Gophers' Andre Hollins' 3-point attempt.

The two plays in a span of less than 20 seconds,

"It was just the want," Valentine said. "I felt like I let my team down in the first 37 minutes or so. I had to make it up somehow."

Making it up – and making changes – has been a focus for Valentine of late. On Saturday, he felt it was a lack of consistency and aggressiveness.

In previous games, it has been a frustration with turnovers. Above all, coach Tom Izzo had one thing to focus on for Valentine: Just doing his job.

"I love the kid. He is in here working morning, noon and night," Izzo said. "Don't try to be somebody else and I think sometimes Zel tries to be something he's not and when he just does his job, he's damn good."

Part of the process for Valentine has been figuring out his role in a team that is finding its identity as players have been in and out of the lineup with injuries.

"It's a little difficult right now because our team is so good and we have so many weapons, so it's kind of hard," Valentine said. "I'm just staying in the film room and keep talking to coach and I will figure this thing out."

Izzo praised Valentine's work ethic and said he knows how much he competes and works. Valentine said it will mean film work and practice.

"What you saw on film and portray that into practice, that's usually how you play," he said. "That's going to be my focus in the next week before we play Northwestern, see what I can do on film and make that change over to practice."

Spartan Digest Top Stories