VALENTINE, DARNELL TERRELL
Hometown: Wichita, KS (Heights HS)
Born February 3, 1959
1978: Lettered, All Big 8
1979: Lettered, All Big 8
1980: Lettered, All Big 8, Olympic team
1981: Lettered, Captain, All Big 8, All-American
DARNELL VALENTINE (Player: 1978-81)
Darnell Terrell Valentine was born February 3, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1977, he was named the first McDonald’s All-American from Wichita, Kansas, where he played for a Wichita Heights team which many consider the best prep team in Kansas History. He averaged 26 points for a 23-0 Heights team that had a winning margin of 40 points a game and clinched the state championship.
He was one of the first Kansas high school players to be recruited nationwide. The Jayhawks won his services after a spirited recruiting battle with North Carolina’s Dean Smith. Tipping the scales in KU’s favor, perhaps, was the fact that Jayhawk coach Ted Owens hired Lafayette Norwood, Valentine’s high school coach, to be an assistant.
The 6’1 guard Valentine had a brilliant career at Kansas, becoming the first player in Big Eight history to be selected first team all-conference four times. He led the Jayhawks to the 1978 Big Eight title as a freshman and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and was selected to the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team, but didn't participate in the boycotted Moscow Games. Valentine left KU as the school's leader in career steals and free throws and as the second-leading scorer in KU history behind Clyde Lovelette and was named Academic All-American three times.
Darnell was drafted in the first round (16th pick overall) by the NBA's Portland Trailblazers in 1981. He spent 4½ years in a Trail Blazers uniform. Darnell also played for the L.A. Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers during his 10-year NBA career. He owns career averages of 8.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 5.0 apg in 620 NBA contests. After completing his NBA career, Darnell played three seasons in the Italian Basketball League.
Former Portland Trailblazers coach Jack Ramsey said “Darnell Valentine was perhaps the most self-disciplined player I ever dealt with. DV - who had watermelon-sized quads, a strong upper body, and excellent quickness handling the ball and defending – worked fanatically on his conditioning. In addition to his fierce work ethic, relentless self-discipline, and powerful will to win, he always wore a smile and was one of the best team players I ever coached.”
For 10 years, Valentine served as a Regional Representative for the National Basketball Players Association. He helped facilitate NBPA player development meetings, worked on the NBA All-Star Game player's meetings and the NBA player's annual summer meeting. Valentine also participated in the Top 100 High School Players' Camp sponsored by the NBPA.
Darnell was inducted in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and his KU jersey number was retired January 2, 2005 at halftime during KU’s game with Georgia Tech. “This is the crowning moment for me. I can certainly appreciate this and relish the fact that it’s happening now,” said Valentine.
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Sources (Internet Biographies):
· Portland Trail Blazers Web site: www.nba.com/blazers/