home sitesearch contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

People Search

Find an individual who either played a sport or was a member of a support group. Search by last name by clicking on the first letter of the person's last name.

Mr. Valentino Hart




Home Phone: --
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: --

CajunBlog by Dan McDonald: Hart shows heart in big hoop effort

Dan McDonald

UL basketball coach Robert Lee has been hoping since the start of the season that some other veterans on his young basketball team would step up. Monday night, Valentino Hart responded to that challenge and made a believer out of a lot of Cajun fans.
Hart, who spent all of last season as a role player for the Cajuns and never had more than six points or eight rebounds, exploded against Tennessee’s Volunteers with a 17-rebound, 10-point effort. Even in a 77-67 loss to the Vols, the Cajuns’ fourth straight setback, his performance gave Lee continued hope for his team’s continued improvement.

“The other night (against Cal State Fullerton), he brought energy and effort and that’s what we need from him. Tonight, he was unbelievable with the effort he brought. There’s no way you could ask for any more from him. That’s the type of fight we need from everybody.”

Hart, a native of The Bahamas, had eight points and 11 rebounds by halftime, and it was his board work that helped the Cajuns stay within striking distance at 38-30 at intermission. Later, he had three straight defensive board and an offensive rebound putback in a four-minute span, and during that time UL whittled what at one time was a 17-point deficit down to single digits.

That deficit was eventually reduced to two, but Tennessee’s Chris Lofton finished off a night of heroics with all of Tennessee’s field goals in the final 10 minutes. He finished with 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including seven three-pointers.

“We needed our other guys to play better tonight, and they did,” Lee said. “Guys like Rhett Hebert, Adam James and Valentino Hart, we needed them because the freshmen were a little shell-shocked. This is a different level from high school.”

Hebert finished with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and also had seven assists, and James had five rebounds as part of a 33-31 Cajun rebounding effort. And Hart …

“That’s what I’ve been supposed to do all season,” Hart said. “I started out slow. Coach Lee told me that if I rebound, good things will happen. That’s what I do, rebound and hustle plays.”

Originally published November 28, 2006

Men’s Basketball: New players have big Hart

October 15, 2006 – Cajun veteran helps incoming rookies adjust to court pressures

Dan McDonald

The freshman members of UL’s men’s basketball team don’t have to look far to discover what can happen with hard work and a little experience.
All they have to do is look down low, in the direction of Valentino Hart.

The Cajuns’ senior power forward was an unknown and unsure quantity when UL opened practice last season. Now, after a season in which he earned 11 starts, the Freeport, Bahamas, native can relate to where the newcomers stand.

“It’s frustrating when you first start,” Hart said after UL’s two-hour Saturday morning practice. “The thing they have to do is learn to fight through the frustration. The things we’re working on now I know pretty well, and now I’m trying to help them out.”
Hart played in 25 games last season, averaging 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds but providing a physical defensive presence.

“My rebounding’s improved and I think I’m getting better on my offensive skills,” Hart said. “Defense is still my strength, and Coach really stresses us doing what we’re supposed to do defensively.”

“Coach likes to have that intensity on defense, so you’ve got to be physical there,” said freshman guard Willie Lago of Reserve-East St. John. “He likes a lot of on-ball pressure.”

The Cajuns, prepping for their Nov. 6 exhibition opener against Spring Hill and the Nov. 10 season opener against Ouachita Baptist, had more new faces than familiar ones at Saturday’s workout.

“They have to learn just competing hard on every possession,” said third-year Cajun coach Robert Lee. “That’s the only way we have a chance to be successful, and that’s where we have a ways to go.”

New NCAA rules that allow a limited amount of team and individual drills prior to mid-October have given teams a jump-start on preparations.

“We’ve been doing some drills and getting familiar with what we want to do,” Lee said, “so you don’t spend as much time correcting. The early practice helped, but we’ve still got a lot of correcting to do.”

Even with those early practices, Saturday’s two-a-day session of two-hour morning and afternoon drills was a wake-up call for some of the newcomers.

“It’s a lot harder than I expected,” Lago said. “It’s a lot harder than high school. Players are bigger, stronger, faster. You’ve got to be a quick learner, and you’ve got to take the criticism in a positive way.”

“It’s a lot thrown at you at one time,” said freshman forward Tyren Johnson of Edgard-West St. John. “Conditioning … the Army’s got nothing on us.”

With senior point guard Maurice Barksdale sidelined for the season with a broken wrist, the Cajuns had nine Louisiana products out of the 13 players going through Saturday’s drills. That number goes to 10 when freshman guard Elijah Millsap of Grambling recovers from a twisted ankle suffered in practice last week.

Five of those 10 have never worn a college uniform, and Jeanerette sophomore Derek Gray is returning after a year’s absence.

“The young guys are picking it up,” Hart said. “If they need to know something, they ask. I know some things they need to do, and things they need to know not to do.”

Originally published October 15, 2006