Valentine emerged as a candidate for the award early on in his senior season, and finished the year averaging 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game.
The Spartans' captain missed four games after having minor knee surgery last winter, but would return with the same momentum he had before the injury. He received 34 of the 65 votes from the Associated Press, with Oklahoma's Buddy Hield being the only other player to receive votes. Those two were the only two unanimous selections for the AP All-American Team.
Valentine led his team's tremendous attack from long range, shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc, while also staying accurate at the free throw line, shooting 85.3 percent. He would lead his team to the a second place finish in the Big Ten regular season, while also enjoying a stay as the country's No. 1 ranked team for four weeks.
He would enjoy a Big Ten Tournament victory with his team, before the stunning, disappointing end to his stay in green and white. Voting was done before the tournament, so that was not counted against the multi-dimensional player, who in many voters' eyes, had this award won since the beginning of the year.