NORTH ROBINSON — One of the top basketball players in north central Ohio will continue his career close to home next season.
Colonel Crawford High School star Carter Valentine has signed a national letter of intent to attend Ashland University. The 6-foot-6 inch senior shooting guard put pen to paper surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday morning in the high school library.
Valentine said Ashland, a member of NCAA Division II and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), has always been his first choice for college. He said he was impressed with Eagles head coach John Ellenwood and entire Ashland men’s basketball program.
“Ashland is definitely the school I’ve always wanted to go to and the opportunity came and I just took it,” he said. “The coaches (at Ashland) have built a great relationship with the players and everything. When I went to visit the players were real cool. The family around it is just something I want to be part of.”
Ellenwood is entering his 13th season at Ashland. He’s compiled a record of 203-131 during his time there, placing him second on the all-time wins list. In 2020-2021, he directed Ashland to a 15-9 overall record and an 11-7 mark in the GLIAC. The Eagles won their first GLIAC tournament championship and reached the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in 30 years, defeating Wayne State, 76-61.
Valentine did note that several other Ohio schools, including Findlay and Malone, courted him during the recruiting process, but Ashland was the clear favorite.
Valentine expressed gratitude for the people who have helped him during his career so far.
“I’m just really blessed,” Valentine said. “I thank God, my family, coaches, teachers, everyone who’s helped me get here. I’ve got a great ability and all I can do is just work at it and good things happen.”
He plans to major in education at Ashland.
Colonel Crawford head coach David Sheldon said Valentine is the first player from his program to receive a full scholarship to play college basketball. He said Valentine possesses all the tools needed to be successful.
“Carter’s very skilled and very blessed,” Sheldon said. “He’s 6-6. He can shoot it. He can put it on the floor. I think you see all the accomplishments he got as a junior and he had a heck of a circuit on AAU with Coach (Ben) Lash as well. He had multiple offers throughout the spring and summer. I think Ashland’s a great fit for him. Coach Ellenwood, Coach (Brook) Turson, they really fell in love with him and it’s a great program over there. Last week they beat Valparaiso, a Division I school, in exhibition. It’s big time basketball.
“I’m happy for Carter and his family. It’s a blessing any time you get to go play basketball and you get some of your college paid for on top of it,” Sheldon added. “It’s going to be a big jump. It’s a totally different jump from high school basketball, but I know he’s up for that. He’s excited.”
Valentine headlines a group of four letterwinners from the 2020-2021 Eagles squad returning for the 2021-2022 campaign. He led the Northern 10 in scoring averaging 18.1 points per game. He was voted Northern 10 player of the year, was a second-team All-Ohio, first-team All-District 6, and first-team All-Northwest District selection. Valentine was part of an Eagles squad that finished 23-1 overall (22-0 regular season) and 16-0 in the N10 on the way to the school’s first league championship since 2014-2015.
Sheldon noted that Valentine has been a key player for the Colonel Crawford program in recent years.
“He’s been part of a lot of great teams,” he said. “You know, back to his sophomore year, we were in the regional tournament, last year an undefeated regular season, a league championship, and into the district tournament. He’s valuable. He can score. He can defend. He’s a very good player. He’s a very good player. He and his teammates, they play well together.
“I think the interesting thing is, you know, his sophomore year, he was more of a role player, when we had (Jordan) Fenner and (Gavin) Feichtner who were All-Ohioans. Then his junior year, he really took a huge jump and I think that’s what gave him this opportunity to go play basketball at the next level and not have to pay for your education.”
Valentine said Colonel Crawford will always be a special place to him.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I don’t think any of this would’ve happened if I wouldn’t have came here. Coach Sheldon has helped me with so much. I can’t thank him enough, really.”
Valentine is the son of Matt and Jaime Valentine. His sisters, Taylor and Harper, were also in attendance for his signing ceremony on Wednesday.