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Denzel Valentine is off to a strong start in exhibition games for Michigan State

Denzel Valentine

Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (45) drives past Virginia Tech’s C.J. Barksdale (42), Jarell Eddie (31) and Adam Smith (3) during the first half of a Coaches vs. Cancer NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Frank Franklin II

Michigan State needs to replace the loss of seniors Keith Appling and Adreian Payne and sophomore Gary Harris and one player stepping up early in the preseason is junior wing Denzel Valentine.

The 6-foot-5 Valentine has been impressive in Michigan State’s two exhibition wins so far as he accounted for 24 points and 12 rebounds in a Monday exhibition win before posting a triple-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in another exhibition win on Friday night.

The versatility that Valentine brings to the table is something to watch this season as he’ll be asked to do a little bit of everything for the Spartans. Head coach Tom Izzo needs Valentine to be productive in multiple facets of the game and he has to be pleased with the exhibition production that his junior forward is displaying.

One positive about Valentine’s early stellar play is his efficiency. The junior only took seven field goal attempts last night in the triple-double effort and if he can get easier buckets for other Spartans, it’ll make them a tough team to beat this season.

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