College Basketball Nation: Eric Valentin

Longtime readers might remember the name Eric Valentin. In January, the 5-foot-4 Green Bay walk-on set a new world record for the number of half-court shots -- eight, believe it or not -- made in a minute.

That was Valentin's first and really only video exposure in the college hoops webosphere. That is, until today.

As Yahoo!'s Jeff Eisenberg reported last night, Valentin was the recipient of two things at Green Bay practice yesterday, both of which you can see in video form in the previous link. The first was a prank: Green Bay coach Brian Wardle chastised Valentin after the team's first conditioning session, telling the guard he spent too much offseason time at his job and too little time getting conditioned for the upcoming basketball season. Just as Valentin looked fully downtrodden, the coach revealed present No. 2: A full-ride scholarship to play basketball at Green Bay in 2011-12. As he told Jeff:
"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."

You have to love the image. If only every parent could get their kid to visualize college tuition as money flying back into their pockets.

Valentin's story could practically serve as a sequel to "Rudy." The diminutive guard didn't reach the five-foot mark until well into his high school career, making his dream of playing college basketball an unlikely one. But Valentin contacted the Green Bay program, met Wardle for an interview, and inspired the staff to take him on as a walk-on.

Now in his senior season, Valentin is no longer just a four-year player (and a world-record holder, which is pretty cool in its own right). He's also a scholarship member of his team. Financially, that's huge. But it's also a symbolic payoff of hard work. Very cool.
Even if you're a hardcore hoops head, it's unlikely you've ever heard of Green Bay guard Eric Valentin. That, friends, is about to change.

Why? Because Valentin is a world-record holder, and not just in any old record. As of this week, Valentin is the new world record-holder for half-court shots made in a minute. Valentin hit eight -- yes, eight -- half-court shots inside 60 seconds, which topped the previous record of seven set by a student at Washington State last April.

And yes, there's video. And yes, that video is as awesome as you'd think. Observe:

Thrilling stuff. It appeared Valentin was struggling, but a late rally -- not to mention the last-second run-off make -- redeemed the video and earned him a rather obscure, but totally enviable, Guinness World Record. And how cool is it that Valentin knows whether or not a half-court shot is going in? It's like a free throw. In fact, I'm pretty sure Valentin's half-court shot percentage is higher than Kansas State's free throw mark.

Anyway, a new bar has been set. Notice to bored undergrads everywhere: Your move.

(Hat tip: FanHouse, The Dagger, all five people who sent this to me, etc.)