Payne was born Aug. 8, 1994 in Bartlett, Tennessee to Tony and Leshawn Payne. He attended Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tennessee, growing from 5-foot-5 as a freshman to 6-foot as a senior. He led the high school to a 2013 Division II state title. As a senior, he averaged 20 points and 10 assists with four rebounds and was named Mr. Basketball. After high school, he attended Murray State for two seasons of college ball. During his sophomore season, he averaged 20.2 points, 6.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 32.2 minutes. After the season, he was named the OVC Player of the Year and proceeded to declare for the NBA Draft.