Four years ago, Michigan State senior Draymond Green won Big 10 Player of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches Player of the Year.
This past season, Denzel Valentine, a fellow Spartan alum and pupil of Green, took home both awards as well as AP Player of the Year.
So it's natural that the 6-foot-5 Valentine is drawing comparisons to the Warriors' All-Star forward.
At the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago on Friday, Valentine was asked by reporters if Green's success in the NBA has boosted his stock.
"I thank him every day. He's doing his thing. He's definitely making it easier for me, he's paving the way," Valentine said Friday. "He says that all the time 'I paved the way.' He really does. He's worked. He was picked 35 and had to do it the hard way. He's paving the way for guys like me and other people that fit my mold."
Valentine later elaborated on his relationship with Green.
"Draymond is a character. My sophomore and junior year, we spent pretty much the whole summer together working out," Valentine said. "He's definitely taught me a lot and I try to use his knowledge to the best of my capability and do things he says."
So does Valentine ever compare himself to Green as a player?
"Yeah, for sure. With the things he brings to the table, winning mentality, being versatile, toughness, leadership role, high basketball IQ, doing a lot of different things on the court, I definitely compare myself to him," Valentine said.
Asked if there were any other players he compares himself to, Valentine offered Boston shooting guard Evan Turner and Milwaukee point guard Greivis Vazquez.
Most mock drafts have Valentine going in the mid-first round of June 23 draft, but he isn't worried about where he goes in the draft.
"Everybody has their their own different mock draft. I just want to be known as the best player after the draft," Valentine said. "It really doesn't matter where I go. It just matters what you do after you get drafted and how you perform after the draft.
Valentine is listed as a guard, but he averaged 7.5 rebounds per game during his senior season in addition to 19.2 points and 7.8 assists per contest. During his meetings with teams in Chicago, Valentine was asked about what position he sees himself playing in the NBA.
"They asked me what I see myself as and I just gave them my general feedback, which is that I don't see myself as a position guy. I was talking to Draymond the other night and he was saying that he's a basketball player. And I see myself as just a basketball player," Valentine said. "You put me out there and want me to play point guard and make plays for other people and run your team, I can do that. But if you need me to be on the wing and be able to make decisions off the pass without bringing the ball up the court, I can do that. And if you want me to catch-and-shoot in the corner, I can do that. I just try to find a way to get it done."
If Valentine follows Green's career path, he's going to make one team very happy.