MSU’s Valentine thanks fans on Instagram

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Michigan State's Denzel Valentine is in the running for the Wooden and Naismith awards.

Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine typically stays off of social media during the season, but in the wake of the Spartans’ loss to Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, he took to Instagram to thank the fans.

“Definitely not what I had in mind the way my college career ended,” Valentine posted. “Just wanted to say Thank you Spartan nation for your support for 4 years. I can honestly say I have no regrets to the way I gave my all to this university and program!

“I had an amazing time playing the game I truly love here at this special place and I will never forget the memories with my family, teammates, coaches, fans, and whoever played a part in my time at Michigan state. Through the good and bad times I can say Im leaving this university a better man and player. I had a wonderful time at MSU and wouldn’t trade any moment, I will never forget this time. Thank you and always go green.”

Valentine struggled in his final game, turning the ball over six times while scoring 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting. He did hand out 12 assists, but was upset with the way he played in his final game.

“That’s probably one of the worst games we played all year, and it happened to be in the first round,” he said. “You can’t have that if you want to win championships. … I didn’t come through today and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”

Valentine finished the season averaging 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists.

The individual awards have already started to mount — Big Ten player of the year and national player of the year, according to USA Today and Sports Illustrated — and the majors are still to come. Valentine is a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Wooden Award, and is a semifinalist for the Naismith Award.