Denzel Valentine

Denzel Robert Valentine (born November 16, 1993) is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Michigan State. As a senior, Valentine became the first player in Michigan State history to be recognized as the National Player of the Year by The Associated Press. He also earned other player of the year awards from the NABC, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, and Basketball Times in addition to being named a unanimous First-Team All-American.

Denzel Valentine
20170213 Villanova-Depaul accidental Denzel Valentine
Valentine sitting courtside at Allstate Arena during a VillanovaDePaul game
No. 45 – Chicago Bulls
PositionShooting guard
LeagueNBA
Personal information
BornNovember 16, 1993 (age 25)
Lansing, Michigan
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolJ. W. Sexton (Lansing, Michigan)
CollegeMichigan State (2012–2016)
NBA draft2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career2016–present
Career history
2016–presentChicago Bulls
2017Windy City Bulls
Career highlights and awards
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

High school career

Valentine attended J. W. Sexton High School, where he was coached by his father, Carlton Valentine (former Michigan State player),[1] and played alongside future Michigan State teammate Bryn Forbes and Iowa basketball player Anthony Clemmons.

As a sophomore, Valentine averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds, leading Sexton to a state title game. He was awarded 2010 Class B honorable mention all-state.[2]

Valentine averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists per game as a senior, leading Sexton to a 27–1 record. He was selected as the Lansing State Journal Player of the Year and Associated Press Class B Player of the Year as a senior.[2] As a recruit, Valentine was nationally ranked in the top 100 by Rivals.com (#81, #15 shooting guard), ESPNU100 (#98, #26 small forward), and Scout.com (#27 small forward).[2]

College career

Following his successful freshman year, Valentine was the recipient of MSU's Unsung Player Award (voted on by players).[2] As a sophomore, he earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten (Coaches and Media).[2]

With Adreian Payne and Gary Harris leaving MSU for the NBA Draft, Keith Appling leaving due to graduation (eventually to the NBA), the dismissal of Kenny Kaminski, and the transfer of Russell Byrd, Valentine saw an increase in leadership and an expanded role on the team as a junior. Before the season started, he was awarded one of the three captain spots. Perhaps one of Valentine's most memorable moments came on Valentine's Day 2015, he hit the game winning shot in a matchup versus Ohio State and finished with 17 points.[3] His junior season saw him earn Orlando Classic All-Tournament Team (averaging 19.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in three games), Third Team All-Big Ten, USBWA All-District V, and NCAA East Regional All-Tournament Team honors.[2]

On November 17, 2015, the senior Valentine became the 4th player in Michigan State history to record a triple-double. He had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in Michigan State's 79-73 victory over the fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.[4] It was the first triple-double of the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season.[5] On December 21, it was announced that Valentine would be sidelined for 2–3 weeks after he underwent an arthroscopic knee surgery. He returned on January 10, 2016.[6][7]

He was named to the 35-man midseason watchlist for the Naismith Trophy on February 11.[8] On February 29, he was named a semifinalist of the Oscar Robertson Trophy.[9] Valentine was also a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, the Adolph Rupp Trophy, Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year, and the NABC Player of the Year.

Valentine finished the 2015–16 regular season averaging 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists as MSU finished in second place in the Big Ten. On March 8, USA Today named Valentine National Player of the Year over Oklahoma's Buddy Hield.[10] The Big Ten also announced that Valentine was the Big Ten's Player of the Year.[11] On March 9, Valentine was named to the Sporting News All-American Team.[12]

Valentine's senior year at Michigan State saw him ranked among the NCAA leaders when it came to three-point shooting.[13] He accumulated many awards and won Michigan State's first College Basketball Player of the Year Award since Draymond Green won the NABC Player of the Year in 2012. Valentine shined during the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, earning tournament Most Outstanding Player while winning Michigan State's fifth championship.[14] Valentine, along with Bryn Forbes, were selected to the NCAA College Basketball Three-Point Contest following his senior year.[15] Valentine defeated his teammate in the first round of the competition when he rattled off 22 points compared to Forbes' 10. Valentine was eliminated from the competition in the semifinals when he hit 17 points, needing 23 to advance. Valentine's senior year also proved very effective in raising his draft stock. Valentine went from being potentially undrafted to being seen as a potential lottery pick in the 2016 NBA draft.[16]

Awards

University awards

  • George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year (Michigan State University Athlete of the Year)[17]

Team awards

  • Michigan State Team MVP Media[18]
  • Michigan State Team MVP Players/Coaches
  • Michigan State Antonio Smith Guts and Glue Award

Weekly awards

  • Naismith National Player of the Week 2/16/16[19]
  • Lute Olson Award National Player of the Week 11/30/15[20]
  • CS Madness – National Player of the Week 11/22/15[21]
  • CS Madness – Big Ten Player of the Week 11/29/15[22]
  • CS Madness – Big Ten Player of the Week 11/22/15[21]
  • BTN – Big Ten Player of the Week 2/15/16
  • BTN – Big Ten Player of the Week 2/8/16
  • BTN – Big Ten Player of the Week 11/23/15

National Player of the Year awards

  • CBS – Big Ten Player of the Year[54]
  • CollegeInsider.com – Big Ten Player of the Year[55]
  • AP – Big Ten Player of the Year[56]
  • FOX – Big Ten Player of the Year[57]
  • Bleacher Report – Big Ten Player of the Year[58]
  • Big Ten Player of the Year (Media)[59]
  • Big Ten Player of the Year (Coaches)[60]
  • All-Big Ten 1st Team Media[61]
  • All-Big Ten 1st Team Coaches[62]
  • CBS – Big Ten 1st Team[54]
  • Bleacher Report – All Big Ten 1st Team[63]
  • Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award[64]
  • Big Ten's All Tournament Team[65]
  • USBWA – District V Player of the Year[66]
  • USBWA – District V All 1st Team[66]
  • Bleacher Report – Mid Season All American 1st Team[67]
  • Sporting News – Mid Season All American 1st Team[68]
  • Preseason Wooden Award Watch List[69]
  • Bleacher Report – Preseason Player of the Year Honorable Mention[70]
  • Bleacher Report – Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Honorable Mention[71]
  • NBC – Preseason 2nd Team All-American[72]
  • Sports Illustrated – Preseason 2nd Team All-American[73]
  • CBS -Preseason 3rd Team All-American[74]
  • Bleacher Report – Preseason 3rd Team All-American[75]
  • USA Today – Preseason All-American Honorable Mention[76]
  • College Sports Madness – Preseason All-Big Ten 1st Team[77]
  • Big Ten Network – Preseason Big Ten 1st Team[78]

Professional career

Chicago Bulls (2016–present)

ValentineBulls
Valentine during the 2017 NBA Summer League.

On June 23, 2016, Valentine was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 14th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.[79][80] On July 16, 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Bulls.[81] Two days later, Valentine hit a turnaround jumper as time expired to lift the Bulls to an 84–82 overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Las Vegas Summer League championship game.[82]

On January 2, 2017, Valentine, who had played just four total minutes in the previous seven games, played 18 minutes against the Charlotte Hornets and hit his first three three-pointers, finishing with a then season-high nine points. He exited with an ankle injury in the second half, as the Bulls went on to win 118–111.[83] On January 10, 2017, he posted career highs with 19 points and five three-pointers in a 101–99 loss to the Washington Wizards.[84] On March 18, 2017, Valentine recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in a 95–86 win over the Utah Jazz.[85] During his rookie season, Valentine received multiple assignments to the Windy City Bulls, Chicago's D-League affiliate.[86]

On November 26, 2017, Valentine had 14 points and career highs of 13 rebounds and seven assists in a 100–93 loss to the Miami Heat.[87] On January 18, 2018, he scored 19 points against the Houston Rockets.[88] Two days later, he scored a career-high 20 points in a 122–119 double-overtime win over the New York Knicks.[89] On March 17, 2018, he hit eight 3-pointers and scored a career-best 34 points in a 114–109 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.[90] On April 4, 2018, Valentine underwent arthroscopic debridement on his left knee, which ruled him out for the rest of the season.[91]

In September 2018, Valentine was diagnosed with a sprained left ankle during the team's training camp and was expected to miss one to two weeks. However, in late October, the Bulls announced he was suffering from a bone bruise, not a sprain, and would miss an additional two weeks.[92] On November 19, after missing the first 17 games of the season,[92] Valentine was diagnosed with ongoing ankle instability.[93] Following a left ankle stabilization procedure on November 27, he was ruled out for the season.[94]

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2016–17 Chicago 57 0 17.1 .354 .351 .778 2.6 1.1 .5 .1 5.1
2017–18 Chicago 77 37 27.2 .417 .386 .745 5.1 3.2 .8 .1 10.2
Career 134 37 22.9 .399 .374 .754 4.1 2.3 .7 .1 8.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2017 Chicago 4 0 5.5 .333 .250 - 2.0 .5 .0 .3 1.3
Career 4 0 5.5 .333 .250 - 2.0 .5 .0 .3 1.3

College

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2012–13 Michigan State 36 15 20.8 .445 .281 .667 4.1 2.4 .8 .3 5.0
2013–14 Michigan State 38 33 29.4 .408 .377 .677 6.0 3.8 1.0 .3 8.0
2014–15 Michigan State 39 39 33.2 .443 .416 .826 6.3 4.3 .9 .2 14.5
2015–16 Michigan State 31 30 33.0 .462 .444 .853 7.5 7.8 1.0 .2 19.2
Career 144 117 29.0 .442 .408 .779 5.9 4.4 .9 .3 11.4

National team career

Valentine was a member of USA Basketball's senior men's national team at the 2015 Pan American Games which was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The U.S. team captured the tournament's bronze medal, with a 3–2 record The following year, Valentine joined the USA Basketball Select Team to train against the 2016 Rio Olympic team.[95]

Personal life

Valentine is the son of Carlton and Kathy Valentine. His older brother, Drew, played collegiate basketball for Oakland University, and is now an assistant coach at Loyola University in Chicago.[2] Valentine considers fellow NBA player and Michigan State alumni Draymond Green "like a big brother".[96]

On April 7, 2016, Valentine and his coach at Michigan State, Tom Izzo, were featured as guests on Dancing With the Stars where they learned from Artem Chigvintsev and Edyta Sliwinska.[97]

References

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  97. ^ "Exclusive: Watch Tom Izzo, Denzel Valentine and A'ja Wilson learn new moves from DWTS dancers". For The Win. Retrieved April 8, 2016.

External links

2012–13 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team

The 2012–13 Michigan State Spartans represented Michigan State University in the 2012–13 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The head coach was Tom Izzo who was in his 18th year. The team played their home games at Breslin Center in East Lansing, MI and were members of the Big Ten Conference. MSU finished with a record of 27–9, 13–5 to finish in a tie for second place in Big Ten play. The Spartans lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament to Ohio State. MSU received a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the 16th straight year where they reached the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year, losing to Duke.

2014–15 Big Ten Conference men's basketball season

The 2014–15 Big Ten men's basketball season began with practices in October 2014, followed by the start of the 2014–15 NCAA Division I men's basketball season in November. It marked the first season for Rutgers and Maryland in the Big Ten Conference. Wisconsin won the regular season title and the 2015 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.

Following the season, eight teams participated in post-season tournaments. Seven teams were invited to participate in the 2015 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, and one team was selected for the 2015 National Invitation Tournament. The conference achieved a 12–7 record in the NCAA tournament and a 12–8 overall postseason record. The postseason was highlighted by Wisconsin's NCAA tournament championship game appearance and Michigan State's final four appearance.

Frank Kaminsky earned several national player of the year awards and was the Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year. He and D'Angelo Russell received 2014 All-American first team recognition and Melo Trimble earned second team recognition. Russell and Trimble were both 2015 USBWA Freshman All-America Team selections. Kaminsky and Russell were the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and Jerry West Award winners, respectively. Shavon Shields and Mike Gesell were Academic All-America selections.

Following the season, the conference had 5 selections in the 2015 NBA draft, including 3 in the first round: Russell (2nd), Kaminsky (9th), Sam Dekker (18th), Aaron White (49th), and Branden Dawson (56th). International player, Caleb Swanigan won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2015 FIBA Under-19 World Championship, while Trimble and Denzel Valentine won bronze medals at the 2015 Pan American Games.

2014–15 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team

The 2014–15 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represented Michigan State University in the 2014–15 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Spartans, led by 20th year head coach Tom Izzo, played their home games at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan as members of the Big Ten Conference. MSU finished with a record of 27–12, 12–6 in Big Ten play to finish in a three-way tie for third place. They advanced to the Big Ten Tournament finals where they lost to Wisconsin. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and reached the Final Four for the seventh time under Tom Izzo. There the Spartans lost to eventual National Champion, Duke.

2015 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

The 2015 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament was held from March 11 through March 15 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. This was the 16th annual Big Ten Tournament and was the first tournament to feature 14 teams of the expanded Big Ten to include Maryland and Rutgers. The championship was won by Wisconsin who defeated Michigan State in the championship game. As a result, Wisconsin received the Big Ten's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The win marked Wisconsin's third tournament championship and first since 2008.

2015–16 Big Ten Conference men's basketball season

The 2015–16 Big Ten men's basketball season began with practices in October 2015, followed by the start of the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season in November. Conference play began in late December and concluded in March, 2016.

Indiana won the Big Ten regular season by two games over second place Michigan State. Four teams tied for third place.

Denzel Valentine was the Conference Player of the Year and won many national player of the year awards (splitting them with Buddy Hield). Valentine and Jarrod Uthoff were consensus All-Americans, while Yogi Ferrell also received some All-American recognition. Uthoff was named Academic All-America Team Member of the Year, while Shavon Shields and Mike Gessell were also named Academic All-America. Tom Crean was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Following the season, Tom Izzo was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. After taking over for Bo Ryan midseason, Greg Gard was named the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award winner.

The Big Ten Tournament was held from March 9–13, 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michigan State won the tournament championship by defeating Purdue in the championship game. As a result, the Spartans received the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Seven Big Ten schools (Michigan State, Indiana, Maryland, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan) were invited to the NCAA Tournament marking the sixth consecutive year the Big ten had at least six teams in the Tournament. The conference sent three teams to the Sweet Sixteen (Indiana, Maryland, and Wisconsin), marking the ninth consecutive season multiple Big Ten teams advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. In the previous four seasons, at least one Big Ten team reached the Final Four, however no Big Ten team made it past the Sweet Sixteen. The conference achieved an 8–7 record in the Tournament. Ohio State also received a bid to the National Invitation Tournament, losing in the first round.

Nine Big Ten teams won 20 games on the season marking the first time in history this occurred.

2015–16 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team

The 2015–16 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represented Michigan State University in the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Spartans, led by 21st-year head coach Tom Izzo, played their home games at the Breslin Center and were members of the Big Ten Conference.They finished the season 29–6, 13–5 in Big Ten play to finish in second place. They defeated Ohio State, Maryland, and Purdue to win the Big Ten Tournament. As a result, they received the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their 19th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. As the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, they were upset by No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee, in what was considered at the time to be one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history.

2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season

The 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season began on November 13. The first tournament was the 2K Sports Classic and ended with the Final Four in Houston April 2–4. Practices officially began on October 2.

2016 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

The 2016 Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament was the postseason men's basketball tournament for the Big Ten Conference held from March 9 through March 13 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was the 17th annual Big Ten Tournament and was the second tournament to feature 14 teams of the expanded Big Ten, including Maryland and Rutgers. The championship was won by Michigan State who defeated Purdue in the championship game. As a result, Michigan State received the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The win marked Michigan State's fifth tournament championship, the most tournament championships by any team in the Big Ten (Ohio State has won five championships as well, but one has been vacated). It was Michigan State's third straight appearance in the championship game and their fourth appearance in the championship in the prior five years. Denzel Valentine was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

2016 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans

An All-American team is an honorary sports team composed of the best amateur players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply "All-Americans". Although the honorees generally do not compete together as a unit, the term is used in U.S. team sports to refer to players who are selected by members of the national media. Walter Camp selected the first All-America team in the early days of American football in 1889. The 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans are honorary lists that include All-American selections from the Associated Press (AP), the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), the Sporting News (TSN), and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) for the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. All selectors choose at least a first and second 5-man team. The NABC, TSN and AP choose third teams, while AP also lists honorable mention selections.

The Consensus 2016 College Basketball All-American team is determined by aggregating the results of the four major All-American teams as determined by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Since United Press International was replaced by TSN in 1997, the four major selectors have been the aforementioned ones. AP has been a selector since 1948, NABC since 1957 and USBWA since 1960. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors based on a point system computed from the four different all-America teams. The point system consists of three points for first team, two points for second team and one point for third team. No honorable mention or fourth team or lower are used in the computation. The top five totals plus ties are first team and the next five plus ties are second team.Although the aforementioned lists are used to determine consensus honors, there are numerous other All-American lists. The ten finalists for the John Wooden Award are described as Wooden All-Americans. The ten finalists for the Senior CLASS Award are described as Senior All-Americans. Other All-American lists include those determined by USA Today, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports and many others. The scholar-athletes selected by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) are termed Academic All-Americans.

2016–17 Chicago Bulls season

The 2016–17 Chicago Bulls season was the 51st season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Former 2011 MVP and 2009 Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose was traded from his hometown team to the New York Knicks. This was the first season without Rose since the 2012–13 season. Dwyane Wade, who played for the Miami Heat from 2003 to 2016, decided to leave the Heat and sign with his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls. A Chicago native, Wade grew up a fan of the Bulls, and Michael Jordan.

The Bulls traded Tony Snell to the Milwaukee Bucks for Michael Carter-Williams on October 17, 2016.

The Bulls finished the regular season with a 41–41 record, securing the 8th seed. In the playoffs, they faced off against the Boston Celtics in the First Round, where they lost in 6 games after losing 4 straight in the absence of Rajon Rondo.

Following the season, Jimmy Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Rajon Rondo was released and signed with the New Orleans Pelicans, and Dwyane Wade signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As of 2018, this season marked the last time the Bulls made the playoffs.

2017–18 Chicago Bulls season

The 2017–18 Chicago Bulls season was the 52nd season of the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). For the first time since 2011, All-Star Jimmy Butler was not on the roster as he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the off-season. On February 1, 2018, months after his confrontation with teammate Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotić agreed to a trade where he'd be sent alongside a future second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Ömer Aşık, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson, and a future first round pick. The Bulls had their first losing season since 2008, and their first 50-loss season since 2004.

Newly acquired Zach LaVine played in just 24 games this season due to knee injuries.

Basketball Times

Basketball Times is an American basketball magazine that has been in circulation since 1978, and is published by Akers Ink LLC. Basketball Times publishes monthly and mainly focuses on college basketball. The headquarters is in Matthews, North Carolina.

Big Ten Athlete of the Year

The Big Ten Athlete of the Year award is given annually to the athletes voted as the top male and female athlete in the Big Ten Conference.

Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year

The Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year is a basketball award given to the Big Ten Conference's most outstanding player. The award was first given following the 1984–85 season. Only two players have won the award multiple times: Jim Jackson of Ohio State (1991, 1992) and Mateen Cleaves of Michigan State (1998, 1999). Eight players who won the Big Ten Player of the Year award were also named the national player of the year by one or more major voting bodies: Jim Jackson (1992), Calbert Cheaney of Indiana (1993), Glenn Robinson of Purdue (1994), Evan Turner of Ohio State (2010), Trey Burke of Michigan 2013, Draymond Green of Michigan State (2012), Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin (2015), and Denzel Valentine of Michigan State (2016).

Michigan State has the record for the most winners with nine. Of current Big Ten Conference members, six schools have never had a winner: Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, and Rutgers. Of these, only Iowa and Northwestern were in the conference since the inception of this award—Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1991, Nebraska joined in 2011, followed by Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.

Bryn Forbes

Bryn Jerrel Forbes (born July 23, 1993) is an American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Cleveland State and Michigan State, and became a reliable three-point shooter. He plays both guard positions.

List of U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards

This article lists U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards. Several different organizations sponsor an award for the nation's top player.

Michigan State Spartans men's basketball

The Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team represents Michigan State University (MSU) and compete in the Big Ten Conference of NCAA Division I College basketball. Their home games are played at the Breslin Student Events Center. Tom Izzo has been the head coach since 1995. The Spartans have won two NCAA championships and 15 Big Ten Conference Championships. Their two National Championships came in the 1979 NCAA Tournament and the 2000 NCAA Tournament. The 1979 National Championship Game was the most watched college basketball game in history, with 35.11 million television viewers. The 1979 National Championship team was coached by Jud Heathcote and included tournament MVP Magic Johnson, Greg Kelser and Jay Vincent. The Spartans defeated the previously unbeaten Indiana State Sycamores, led by future Hall of Famer Larry Bird. The 2000 National Championship team defeated the Florida Gators men's basketball team in the final. The team was coached by Tom Izzo and led by players Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell, Jason Richardson and tournament MVP Mateen Cleaves.

The Spartans have participated in 33 NCAA tournaments and in 22 consecutive NCAA tournaments (1998–2019), the fourth-longest streak ever and third-longest active streak in college basketball, behind Kansas (29) and Duke (23). Michigan State has the sixth most all-time Final Four appearances with ten (1957, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2019). The program is also ninth all-time in NCAA tournament winning percentage (.677, through 2018).

Sunder Nix

Sunder Lamont Nix (born December 2, 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama) was a 1984 Summer Olympics gold medalist in the men's 4x400 meter relay for the United States.

Tom Izzo

Tom Izzo (, Italian pronunciation: [ˈittso]); born January 30, 1955), is an American college basketball coach who has directed the program at Michigan State University since 1995. On April 4, 2016, Izzo was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.Under Izzo, Michigan State has been a successful collegiate basketball program, earning him the nickname of “Mr March” by some on account of his past success in the NCAA Tournament. Izzo has led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA Division I National Championship, the 2009 NCAA National Championship Game, eight Final Fours, nine Big Ten championships, and six Big Ten Tournament championships in his 24 years at Michigan State. The coach with the most wins in school history, Izzo's teams have earned invitations to 22 consecutive NCAA tournaments, in addition to setting the Big Ten record for the longest home winning streak. These accomplishments led analyst Andy Katz at ESPN to deem Michigan State the top college basketball program for the decade from 1998 to 2007.Izzo is currently the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten Conference, and his teams are often recognized for their rebounding prowess and defensive tenacity. He has won four national coach of the year awards and maintains a considerable coaching tree—several of his former assistants are currently head coaches at other Division I schools. Izzo has won nine regular-season conference titles, tied for the third most in conference history. He has also won the most Big Ten Tournament titles (six) in conference history. Izzo is second all-time in Big Ten wins (288 through 2019), trailing only Bob Knight.

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