valentine darnell
Darnell Valentine
  • Led the Heights Falcons to a 40 point victory in the 1977 State Championship and an undefeated season
  • Three time Academic All-American at KU
  • First round draft pick into the NBA where he played 9 seasons before his retirement
Valentine, Darnell
Inducted 2003

Born: February 3, 1959, Chicago, Illinois

Graduated: Wichita Heights High School, 1977; University of Kansas, 1981

Overview

Selected as one of the five greatest players ever at the University of Kansas, Darnell Terrell Valentine of Wichita was a born leader on the basketball court.

The 1977 Heights High School Team

As a high school senior at Wichita Heights, Valentine played on what most consider the best team in Kansas prep history. The 1977 Falcons won 23 games without a loss, with an average winning margin of 40 points a game. That was the margin of victory in the state championship game when Valentine and his talented teammates defeated Wyandotte, 92-52. Valentine was one the first Kansas high school players to be recruited nation-wide.

Career as a Jayhawk

The Kansas Jayhawks won his services after a spirited recruiting battle with Dean Smith and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Valentine had a brilliant career at KU, becoming the first player in Big Eight history to be selected first-team all-conference four times. He led the Jayhawks to the 1978 Big Eight title as a freshman and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and was selected to the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team, but didn’t participate in the boycotted Moscow Games. Valentine finished his career as the second-leading scorer in KU history behind Clyde Lovelette and was named Academic All-American three times.  His KU jersey number was retired in 2005.

NBA Career

He was drafted in the first round by the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers in 1981 and spent nine seasons in the league with Portland, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Clippers before retiring in 1991.