As the NBA draft approaches, ESPN NBA draft expert Chad Ford took some time to talk with the nation’s media about the draft.. One topic that got a lot of attention was that of Spartan Denzel Valentine. Along with Buddy Hield of Oklahoma, Valentine was projected to be a lottery pick at one time, representing seniors who stayed in school.

In some of the latest mock draft Valentine has dropped in some projections, while remaining in the first round. Ford was asked about senior’s other than Hield and what he saw as the draft approaches. He zeroed right in on Valentine.

“Denzel Valentine was the guy that was most likely the other upper classman that was really going to be — that was a senior that was likely to be drafted in the lottery, but I think there’s been some concerns with Valentine, some of the teams have been concerned about some of the knee problems that he had as a senior at Michigan, some of the diving deep into the medicals and especially when you get a 22-year-old player and there’s some concerns about that sort of stuff, you can start to shy away for prospects that might be a little more safer, have a little more upside. I think it’s more likely now that we’re going to see Denzel Valentine going somewhere in the 20s.”

Ford went on to elaborate about Valentine and his knee. “Everybody team has a different take on Valentine’s knee to we’re not drafting him on one extreme, right, and that there’s major concerns to, you know with the right care, or whatever, this — I think this is really manageable. Obviously he is a major, major prospect for the Pacers at 20 if he slides there. I think two months ago before the combine they would say there was no way Valentine was even getting to him, and one of the appeals obviously is Valentine plays right now. He comes in and he is an immediate contributor to the Pacers. I think they’ll seriously consider him at 20, but they along with all those other teams do know about his medical issues, and if he slides, he slides completely because of that, not because they don’t think the talent is there.”

Zel has heart. While I am not the one who will be paying him millions, but I have covered him closely and whoever picks the Spartan star, is going to get a long term and great professional. Good luck Zel.