Michigan State junior forward Adreian Payne has decided to return to MSU for his senior season and will not enter the NBA Draft.
Payne earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s coaches and media in 2012-13. He led the Spartans in rebounding (7.6 rpg), ranking third in the Big Ten, and ranked third on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg).
Payne also ranked among the Big Ten leaders in free-throw percentage (1st, .848), field-goal percentage (6th, .546), and blocked shots (7th, 1.3 bpg). He ranks third in MSU history in career blocks with 113, as his 46 rejections this season rank sixth on the MSU single-season list. In the last 19 games of the season, he averaged 12.4 points and 7.9 rebounds. On the season, Payne led MSU with nine double-doubles, including six in the final 11 games.
Quote from Adreian Payne
“This has been a very difficult decision for me to make, but I’m excited to be returning to Michigan State for my senior year. I’ve had a lot of people asking what I was going to do, but I had to take my time to make the right decision. I’ve always wanted to play in the NBA, but one more year at MSU is the right decision for me.
“I want to thank Coach Izzo for all his help getting information for me. I also want to thank Coach Winston and Coach Parker. I think I could have been a first-round pick, but I can still become a better player and a higher pick next year. I’ve become a better player this year, and learned how watching film can help even more. If I do that for another year, I think I can really improve my draft position.
“I’m very excited for next year. We have a chance to have a great season with championship goals. Coach Izzo and I had several discussions about an expanded role for me that will help the team become better. Coach Izzo also talked about some of the individual goals he has for me, and I’m going to keep working hard to get better. I want to make my final season a special one.
“I know Grandma Mary is proud of me. She wanted me to get my degree and I made a promise to her that I would do that. I know she's in Heaven right now looking down on me and smiling.
“Finally, I also want to thank all the Spartan fans for their support and patience. As I said, it's been a tough decision for me, but I appreciate everyone allowing me the chance to make it for myself. I also am thankful for all the love I felt from the fans as they told me to make the best decision I could. That's why they are the best in the country.”
Quote from Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo
“This was clearly a very difficult decision for Adreian. I encouraged him to take all the time he needed, and provided whatever assistance he wanted. I reached out to many different NBA teams and personnel, and presented that information to Adreian. But in the end, it was Adreian’s decision to make. I’m proud of him for listening to those people who truly had his best interests at heart. His high school coaches Art Winston and Mark Parker have been key people in his life and very helpful in the process.
“The feedback from the NBA was somewhat varied, but most people believed Adreian would be a first-round pick. But they also said that Adreian was in a position where he could raise his draft stock consistently with a good senior season. That isn’t always the case with underclassmen, but the general consensus with Adreian was that he had a higher ceiling and was on an upward trend. I credit Adreian for having the maturity to listen to the NBA general managers who were offering up information.
“One of the things that I’m most proud of Adreian for is that he’s remained a part of the team throughout the process. He’s been to every workout and has continued to work on improving as a basketball player. Over the last three years, Adreian has been a role model in the community and the classroom, especially for the impact he's had on young children. His story has been well documented by CBS and the Big Ten Network, but he did everything for the right reasons, not the individual publicity. He was willing to share his story in hope that he might inspire others.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Adreian is not just returning to play AT Michigan State, but FOR Michigan State. He and I have talked about the great possibilities for next season, both as a team and individually, and he’s looking forward to chasing those goals.
“The most exciting thing though about Adreian’s decision is that he’ll be able to finish up work on his degree this year, and in fact come December will be just one class shy of graduation, keeping a promise he made to his Grandma. For all the work he’s put in on the court, he’s worked even harder on his academics and he deserves to walk across that stage next May with his degree in hand. He’s a true role model not only for people at MSU and his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, but also across the country, proving that when given a chance, people can accomplish extraordinary things.”