Five-Four Walk-On Earns Scholarship at Green Bay

by September 09, 2011


Yahoo! has a nice story up right now about Eric Valentin, a 5-4 walk-on who plays for the Green Bay Phoenix. Despite heavily stacked odds, Valentin overcame and earned himself a scholarship. Here’s a snippet, but the rest of the story is worth checking out: “When guard Eric Valentin failed to complete five suicides drills in five minutes during Tuesday’s inaugural conditioning session of the season, Green Bay basketball coach Brian Wardle feigned anger at the senior for allowing a summer job to prevent him from staying in shape. ‘That’s a problem,’ a straight-faced Wardle told Valentin at the end of practice. ‘You need to make sure you’re dedicated to this program, not worried about money and getting yourself in shape.’ The payoff to Wardle’s mock lecture was a surprise Valentin never saw coming. Wardle ensured paying for school would never weigh on Valentin’s mind the rest of his career by presenting the 5-foot-4 walk-on with a full scholarship, a joyous moment that the coach had a member of his staff capture on film in the above video. ‘Honestly, he got me pretty good,’ Valentin said by phone Wednesday. ‘I actually didn’t know what was coming. Then he handed me a piece of paper, I saw ‘grant in aid’ at the top and I knew it was a scholarship. I saw a bunch of money fly back into my pocket, all the money I spent on tuition and books. That was a great feeling.’ The bear hug Valentin shared with Wardle represented his joy at achieving his unlikely dream of earning a Division I basketball scholarship despite his diminutive stature.”