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Spartan legend returns to Michigan, aspires to rejoin NBA

Valentine wants to do whatever it takes to make his way back on an NBA roster.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The last few days in Grand Rapids have been a homecoming for one Spartan basketball legend.

Maine Celtics guard and former MSU star Denzel Valentine is in West Michigan playing the Grand Rapids Gold as a member of the Maine Celtics.

"It's cool seeing familiar buildings and people walking around with Michigan State and Michigan gear on," Valentine said. "It brings back good memories. I love being back here."

Valentine was drafted by the Bulls back in 2016, and now he is trying to get back to the NBA. In his first full season in the G league, Valentine is averaging 15.5 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field. 

That field goal percentage is up 10 percent from his five years in the NBA.

Valentine wants to do whatever it takes to make his way back on an NBA roster.

"Just try to take advantage of my opportunity here," Valentine said. "I'm getting an opportunity to play and showcase what I can do again. Obviously, I played in the NBA. It's my first full-year being in the G League so it's good to get some rhythm. Like I said, let people know I can play still and that I am available when needed. Try to take advantage of the opportunity."

Valentine and the Celtics will play the Grand Rapids Gold at Van Andel Arena again on Tuesday night. Valentine scored 15 points in the Celtics' 121-106 win over the Gold on Sunday. 

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