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Payne returns to Michigan State
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 28, 2013 @ 9:56 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Joe Rexrode, USA TODAY Sports
EAST LANSING — For Michigan State, the wait was worth it, and the Payne may be worth a national championship.
Adreian Payne, the supremely gifted 6-foot-10 forward who spent the past month agonizing about whether to return for his senior season at MSU or make the jump to the NBA, announced tonight his decision to stay in school, confirming previous Yahoo! Sports and CBS Sports reports that cited anonymous sources.
“I’m gonna stay my senior year and try to get us to a championship,” Payne said at a Sunday evening press conference, a few hours before the midnight deadline for underclassmen to declare. “That’s the most important thing. … It was a hard decision.”
Payne, who averaged 10.5 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds for MSU as a junior, was considered a borderline first-round pick. But this is considered a weak draft, one of many factors in a decision that clearly weighed on Payne.
Over the weekend, he tweeted about missing his grandmother, Mary Lewis, who raised him in Dayton, Ohio and passed away in 2011, and also about taking refuge in the gym. Rumors of a decision to leave swirled, but as of Sunday afternoon it appeared Izzo would be commanding one of his most talented teams in 2013-14.
Payne’s return means MSU has half of the frontcourt that did much to propel it to a 27-9 season in 2012-13, including a second-place finish in the Big Ten and an advance to the Sweet 16. MSU’s lone senior this season was center Derrick Nix, who formed a potent inside-outside combo with Payne.
Freshman guard Gary Harris announced earlier this month that he would return for his sophomore season, even though ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford projected Harris as a high first-round pick for the last half of his first season with the Spartans.
They’ll be joined by senior point guard Keith Appling, junior forward Branden Dawson and a supporting cast that includes Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello, Alex Gauna and Russell Byrd. MSU also brings in big man Gavin Schilling and guard Alvin Ellis III.
Assuming health and improvement over the summer, next season’s team will … [For more on Adreian Payne announces return to Michigan State, click here.]
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