Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 9/9/11
Who says hard work doesn't pay off?  For Wisconsin-Green Bay walk-on basketball player Eric Valentin, it meant getting the best news of his young lifetime.

On Tuesday, at a practice for The Phoenix basketball squad, coach Brian Wardle surprised his 5-foot-4 guard by offering him the team's last scholarship for the 2011-12 season.

It was an emotional moment for Valentin and a life long dream realized-- and it was all caught on video.

Valentin, who stands almost a full foot shorter than the average college basketball guard was rewarded by Wardle for the young man's "hard work and character," but not without some ribbing before he handed Valentin the official document. 

On the first day of his senior year, the coach singled out Valentin in front of the team and asked him "if he needed money or a job" because it seemed like his young charge was preoccupied during the practice.

It was then, Wardle said, "I found you a full-time job" and handed the scholarship papers to a unsuspecting Valentin.  The coach smiled and asked him, "Do you know what that is?"

As his teammates cheered, Valentin nodded his head and pulled his shirt up to shield his tearing eyes before he walked over and hugged his coach.

"It's a full-time scholarship, my man," said the coach.  "No one's earned it more than this guy right here."

The tiny guard with big ambitions walked up to Wardle last year, after transferring from a Florida community college, and said he wanted to play for his basketball team. 

Valentin, as a junior, only played in five games and averaged 1.2 points, but was a notable presence around the campus.

The Orlando native broke the Guinness World Record for most half-court shots made in a minute and was interviewed on ESPN, but the scholarship means more than the notoriety he gained for those moments.  For the ambitious Valentin, the full scholarship means validation for a job well done.

After all, he came off the bench to spark a win over Houston Baptist last season.

Valentin's feel-good story is a nice switch from the usual off-the-court antics which fill the sports pages and, better yet, Valentin may not have to get that other job.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Jim Tressel once sent touching note to family of Michigan OL

Sony cut 'Concussion' scenes to avoid angering NFL

Ryan Clark: Trent Richardson is 'worst RB of all time'

Report: David Feherty won't be back at CBS Sports

Warren Moon: RG3 needs to start taking the blame


Lovullo: I don’t see Hanley Ramirez playing left field again in 2015

Judge Berman’s one-sentence order repeats Deflategate decision timeline

Ishmael Adams suspended indefinitely following arrest

McNair: Pats caused problem by not cooperating with Deflategate

Browns terminate contract of Phil Taylor

WWE’s 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka charged in 30-year-old murder

Jack Eichel plans to move in with teammate Matt Moulson

Report: Bills GM 'went rogue’ in cutting Fred Jackson

Terrance Knighton irked by Redskins-Kardsashians comparison

Connor Cook on not being named Michigan State captain: 'It stinks'

Danny Amendola’s advice to those on roster bubble? ‘Control what you can’

Dallas Cowboys: Rookies to watch

Apple reportedly sought exclusive rights to new Bill Simmons podcast

One of Clemson’s 1981 national championship trophies broke

Milan Lucic says playing with Canucks is ‘dream of mine’

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

WATCH: Victoria Azarenka rips chair umpire at US Open

Bill O’Brien starts charity swear jar for cursing on ‘Hard Knocks’

Dikembe Mutombo teared up when Hawks announced franchise will retire his jersey

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 storylines for Week 1 of college football season

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker