NBA projection: Payne has been projected as a mid first-round pick by most draft analysts.
Payne was a second-team All-Big Ten selection after finishing seventh in the league in scoring and third in rebounding. Payne helped lead the Spartans to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Off the court, he made national news because of his friendship with Lacey Holsworth, an eight-year-old girl who passed away after a two-year battle with cancer.
Key statistics: 16.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.0 tpg, 34.4 mpg, .503 FG, .423 3PT, .790 FT
Cool statistic: When Payne scored 41 points against Delaware in the second round of the NCAA tournament, it marked the first 40-point performance in the tournament since Davidson’s Stephen Curry scored 40 against Gonzaga in 2008.
Reminds me of: Robert Horry
What Insiders Say
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
“He made the right decision to stay [after his junior season]. He is a much better player. He's a much more cerebral player, he's a much stronger player. He is starting to marry the inside/outside, put them together. And if he does that on a consistent basis, I see him as one of the best four men in the country.”
What Outsiders Say
Delaware coach Monte Ross
“He was a load in there. He was probably the best big man that I've faced in 21 years of college basketball. I haven't faced a guy like that, and because he has a myriad of skills where he can step away and make 3s, he's a load down there on the block. He goes to the foul line, he goes 17‑of-17, that's—someone would have asked me earlier in the week, where are the holes? Well, I don't see a whole lot of holes.”
David Aldridge's Big Board 2014: Power Forwards | Rank: No. 6
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Michigan State's Adreian Payne probably was best known around the country this season for his unlikely friendship with Lacey Holsworth, the cherubic 8-year-old known as "Princess Lacey" that battled cancer for more than two years. Lacey was a huge MSU fan, and Payne quickly became much more to her than another SpartanDog. The two were inseparable, with Lacey and her family becoming part of Payne's family.
Princess Lacey died last month, but Payne remains close to her family; they were there over the weekend when he graduated. Now, Payne will take his blossoming perimeter skills to the pros, where NBA teams think he has a chance at a long and productive career. More>>