Kansas’ Self latest big-name coach to call on Dayton Jefferson’s Payne

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Jefferson junior Adriean Payne continues to be one of the country’s most sought after recruits. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

Kansas’ Bill Self is the latest head coach to visit Dayton Jefferson High School. The boss of the Jayhawks recently flew into Dayton via private jet in
hopes of landing one of the nation’s top juniors, Adriean Payne. Payne, a 6-foot-10 and 215-pound bundle of talent, is being recruited
by almost every major college basketball program in America.


Kansas’ Bill Self is the latest head coach to visit Dayton Jefferson High School.

The boss of the Jayhawks recently flew into Dayton via private jet in hopes of landing one of the nation’s top juniors, Adriean Payne.

Payne, a 6-foot-10 and 215-pound bundle of talent, is being recruited by almost every major college basketball program in America.

Self was just the latest college basketball icon to show up at the small public school in Dayton. Jefferson athletic director Dan Fernbacher explained it one word, “neat.”

“This is all pretty neat,” Fernbacher said. “It is not only good for Adriean and our school, but the other players around him. We have some other good players, and they are getting looked at even more because of all the stuff that is going on with Adriean.”

What about Payne has these major colleges in such frenzy?

“His upside is unreal,” Fernbacher relayed. “He has grown an inch since the start of the season and I look for him to grow another inch or two before all is said and done. He is one of the most sought after kids in the country.”

Payne is ranked in the top 25 of almost every major scouting service, and continues to show signs of being the real deal. His offensive game is improving leaps and bounds with his ability to finish with either hand in the paint.

The list of schools coveting and salivating at the chance to land the five-star big man is long and impressive.

“We have had so many head coaches in here since the end of the regular season,” Fernbacher lamented. “The list is just incredible, and meeting some of these high profile guys is a little bit surreal.”

Florida, Xavier, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, Akron, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Indiana, Ohio State, Kentucky, and West Virginia have all made stops to inquire about Payne.

Kansas and Self were just the latest. The Jayhawks will be the consensus No. 1 to start next season.

North Carolina, who recently won the national championship, will be heading to Dayton come July.

“Coach (Roy) Williams wanted to get in here before the deadline (Wednesday), but he was unable to and will come in July,” the Jefferson AD said.

The soft-spoken Honorable Mention All Ohioan, which deserves an investigation, is taking his time and doesn’t seem to get caught up in all the hype.

“Adriean is a great kid and very soft-spoken,” Fernbacher claimed. “He is just taking his time right now and doesn’t really understand all of this just yet. It is hard to get a feel on what he is thinking, because he doesn’t say much. It took him two months to warm up to me.”

Fernbacher continued.

“Head Coach (Art) Winston and I have been trying to advise him a little bit. We both feel it will be a good idea for him to make his decision before the start of next season to take the pressure off him for his senior year. In the end, it will be up to him and what he wants to do.”

Though, there are no favorites at this point one school stands out to Fernbacher.

“He hasn’t said a word as to who his favorites may be,” Fernbacher extended. “I know Brian Gregory at Dayton absolutely loves the kid to death. It would be kind of neat for a player of his caliber to attend our university here in Dayton.”

Dayton wants him so bad the whole Flyers team showed up at one of Payne’s home games. Led by his cousin (Chris Wright), the players showed up in hats and gear.

“I walked out to the concession stand and there were a bunch of 6-foot-8 kids standing around, and it took me a second to figure out what was going on,” Fernbacher joked.

The soft-spoken Payne held true to form when asked about his recruiting.

“They just tell me they are interested in me,” Payne said.

And what about his play in Little Rock, Arkansas this past weekend at the Real Deal in the Rock.

“I played pretty good,” Payne relayed.

Payne is short and to the point, but his efforts in Little Rock were far greater than his words according to most in attendance.

All Ohio Red suffered just its second loss in two years at the hands of the Memphis Magic in the first round of tournament play. All Ohio Red was coming off a tournament championship at the Boo Williams Invitational in Hampton, Virginia.

All Ohio was without top players Juwan Staten (Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Jordan Sibert (Cincinnati Princeton), and Kevin Gray (Reynoldsburg) this past weekend.

Payne averaged 15 points per game and 17 rebounds per game this past season at Jefferson in leading the Broncos to the district final.

If one is looking for any lead at all on Payne’s possible destination a deeper look at All Ohio Red is key.

Payne’s points guard, Juwan Staten, has committed to Dayton.

“Juwan is a pretty good friend of Adiean,” Fernbacher said.

The smart money may be on Ohio State with Jared Sullinger and Jordan Sibert already committing to the Buckeyes. Both are AAU teammates of Payne. Furthermore, the Buckeyes are looking for a big man to complete the 2010 class. Look for Thad Matta and his staff to come on strong.

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