Day in the life of Panthers senior Emilio Valentin

The basketball player brings energy to the Panthers

Senior Emilio Valentin shoots free throw.

Senior Emilio Valentin shoots free throw.

Senior Emilio Valentin shoots free throw.

Karina Salinas

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Game day excitement always roars through Derby High School’s halls.

January 9 was no different when senior Emilio Valentin, 17, and his teammates played against Newton.

Before their win, Valentin went about his normal day.

But what exactly does a basketball player’s day consist of?

Senior Emilio Valentin shoots free throw.

“On game days it’s real exciting,” said Valentin, who transferred from East where he played last season. “A lot of people talking about the game, talking if we’re going to win (or) not. On a regular day I usually just try to get through the day, and get to practice on time. At the end of the season the goal is to get a scholarship — Cowley Community College has been looking into me, talking to my coaches.”

He also tries to get in a workout.

“I always try to get in the gym and run around outside, always try to say active. We run a lot in practice, too. Running has always been easy to me, and I always work hard,” he said.

If he has downtime, it’s likely he’s watching Dope on Netflix.

“Other favorite activities are to just spend time with family, as I get older I realize how much spending time with family and friends is valuable because any time anyone can be gone, so as I mature I realize that,” he said. “On the weekends, Saturday we have basketball practice in the morning, usually me and my little brother hang out, just be around family a lot.

“As I get older, I see that life is real precious and I just appreciate waking up everyday.”

Off times also have included a team fundraiser called Rent A Panther.

“We did that (fundraiser) on a Saturday morning,” he said. “We went to a house of some older folks; they couldn’t lift things that were downstairs, so we had about four guys go over there and take everything that was downstairs into the garage.”

His basketball game days begin with preparation by having a solid breakfast, drinking a good amount of water to remain hydrated through the day, listening to music, and having teammate Nick Bonner stretch him out.

Valentin gets in focus mode for later that night.

His passion for basketball is transparent.

“I love basketball, it has been a passion since middle school,” he said. “I played soccer for a while but basketball has always stuck with me. Basketball is my motivation. If I didn’t have basketball, I probably wouldn’t even be in school right now. I come to school, do my work and everything just for basketball. I know you’ve got to have the grades.”

Valentin brings lots of energy and hype into games. He gives his other teammates energy before games. He motivates his teammates to do well.

He has an appreciation for the good things basketball has brought to him.

“Wherever basketball takes me, I’ll be blessed. I’ll be thankful. But if I get to travel, that would be great. Traveling has always been something I want to do — travel the world, and see different places,” Valentin said

Valentin sees a future as a businessman.

“The class that was really helpful was entrepreneurship because I feel that I am an entrepreneur,” he said. “After basketball I feel like I could be a businessman; I think I could sell products, so I’m really appreciative for that class with (Michael) Packard. I always try to learn something from each class I take.”

Some advice Valentin has for students:

“To all students who are trying to play sports: no matter what anyone says just go out there and try your best, put your heart out there and just leave everything on the line,” he said.

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Day in the life of Panthers senior Emilio Valentin