Michigan State wrapped up a 12-day tour of Italy on Monday.
The Spartans’ one-point loss to the senior national team from Georgia sent them back to East Lansing with three straight losses, but Tom Izzo is taking some positives away from the trip abroad.
“Denzel (Valentine), the first three games was unbelievable,” Izzo during an interview The Drive with Jack on WQTX, via Kyle of Austin of MLive.com. “He could have been the MVP of the whole tournament.”
Valentine began the trip with 16 points in a lopsided win over Basket Fiorentina. From there, the competition got much tougher, as the Spartans dropped their second game, 93-75, to the Russian National Team, a team ranked sixth in the FIBA world rankings. In a losing effort, Valentine had a game-high 21 points with five assists in 34 minutes of action.
He followed that performance up with 23 points in a 90-69 loss to the Italian National Team, ranked No. 36 in the world. In four games, the senior wing averaged 17.0 points per game.
The 6-foot-5 Valentine is coming off a junior campaign where he averaged 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assits per game. His offseason also included a stint with USA Basketball in the 2015 Pan-Am Games.
Gavin Schilling and freshman Matt McQuaid were also praised by Izzo in the interview. Byrn Forbes scored in double figures three times on the trip, while Tum Tum Nairn recorded 16 assists to six turnovers in the three games against the senior national teams.
Michigan State’s impact transfer guard Eron Harris sat out the trip after his offseason arrest.
Matt McQuaid, a four-star shooting guard in the Class of 2015, committed to Michigan State on Thursday morning, according to a report from Evan Daniels of Scout.com.
The Duncanville High (Texas) sharpshooter was on the East Lansing campus this past weekend on an official visit. He took an unofficial visit to Michigan State last month, as well.
“I feel like I fit in really good in their system,” McQuaid told Daniels. “When I went down there I learned a lot from the other guys and they always have guys coming back trying to help. Draymond Green and Gary Harris came back. They always have people coming back. There’s tradition there. I liked that and they win.”
The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter had originally committed to SMU, though, that lasted roughly six weeks before he reopened his recruitment. McQuaid picked Michigan State over Creighton, the only other school to receive an official visit from him.
He joins a three-person recruiting class for Tom Izzo, as five-star power forward Deyonta Davis and three-star guard Kyle Aherns had both previously committed to the Spartans. This 2015 group will also include West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, who will sit out this season at Michigan State.
In the Nike EYBL, McQuaid averaged 15.6 points points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for Team Texas. He also shot 45 percent (46-for-102) from beyond the 3-point line
McQuaid is listed as the No. 71 overall recruit in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.
Matt McQuaid is one of the top perimeter shooters in the country and the 6-foot-5 native of Texas is taking some official visits this fall after decommitting from SMU.
Regarded as the No. 71 player in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, McQuaid visited Creighton early in September while Michigan State gets an official visit this weekend.
In 16 EYBL games this spring, McQuaid averaged 15.6 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 45 percent from beyond the arc.
Here’s a mixtape of McQuaid, courtesy of Ball is Life.