Payne feels right at home at Michigan State

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Dayton Jefferson power forward Adreian Payne pledged his allegiance to Michigan State Thursday (Photos by Matt Natali)

Under the bright lights of a local television set while fighting back some nerves, Dayton Jefferson power forward Adreian Payne
announced Thursday afternoon his intention to play college basketball for Michigan State in a segment that later aired nationally on ESPNU’s “Recruiting Insider”.


DAYTON, Ohio – Adreian Payne left some of the top
college basketball programs in the country green with envy Thursday.

Michigan State green, that is.

The Dayton Jefferson power forward announced Thursday
afternoon his intention to sign a National Letter of Intent with the Spartans
during the early signing period next month.

“It just boiled down to my gut feeling and that is where I
feel at home,” he said.

Under the bright lights of a local television set while fighting back
some nerves, Payne announced his intention to play
college basketball for Michigan State in a segment that later aired
nationally on ESPNU’s “Recruiting Insider”.

Ranked as the No. 23 player in the country by ESPN and the
No. 7 power forward, Payne’s final four schools also included Arizona, Kentucky
and West Virginia.

But Michigan State stuck out early in the recruiting
process for him.

“I think I knew (I wanted to go MSU) when I went there on
my first visit but I wasn’t sure because I wanted to go through the process and
make sure I had the right school,” he said.

Payne told us yesterday in an exclusive interview he was
looking an opportunity to play against the best
competition nightly, a coach with a disciplined approach that deals well
one-on-one with his players, and a school close enough for his grandmother, Mary
Lewis, to attend games.

Michigan State fits that bill for him.

“The academics, the coaching staff and the system of the
program and the offense they run really stuck out,” Payne said.

He called Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo this morning
with the news much to Izzo’s excitement.

“He was surprised. He said he was in a meeting and he said he
was about to jump up and down and said he was going to feel embarrassed if he
started jumping up and down in the meeting,” Payne smiled.

Payne said he connected instantly with Izzo during their first encounter.

“The first time I met him, we had chemistry and we bonded,”
he said.

Payne will join Ohio natives Delvon Roe (Lakewood St.
Edward) and Garrick Sherman (Kenton) on the Spartans next year. Canton McKinley
product Raymar Morgan is a senior forward at Michigan State.

The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Payne is still a developing
prospect. He was not a full-time varsity player until midway through his
sophomore season and his high school plays in the small-school Division IV.

But Payne gained national attention after playing AAU the
last two summers for All-Ohio Red, one of the nation’s top summer circuit
outfits. The team also included Jared Sullinger (verbally committed to Ohio
State), J.D. Weatherspoon (Ohio State), Jordan Sibert (Ohio State), Aaron Craft
(Ohio State) and Juwan Staten (Dayton) and the all-star squad won two national
championships.

With all the attention he has received over the past couple of years, Payne feels
relieved to have made his decision.

“It is a lot off my chest,” he said. “I can just focus on
working with my high school team now as a person and a player,” he said.


Adreian Payne is all smiles as he is about to announce
his college decision on television.


Payne talks with ESPN about the recruiting process and
that he has decided to attend…


…Michigan State!


Payne discusses his decision to play for the Spartans
under the bright lights of the television set.


Michigan State a stepping stone to the NBA?


Despite admitting nervousness, Payne handled
himself very well in front of the camera.

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