Former Spartan star Adreian Payne remembered for his impact on and off the court

‘He will long be remembered by Spartan fans for his kind heart’
Former Spartan star Adreian Payne remembered for his impact on and off the court
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:20 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s a sad day for Spartans basketball fans -- former Michigan State University basketball star Adreian DeAngleo Payne was shot and killed Monday.

He was 31 years old.

According to authorities, Orange County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a Florida residence on reports of a shooting and found Payne with a gunshot wound. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The suspected gunman was identified as Lawrence Dority. Police said he remained at the scene and was taken to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, where he was interviewed by detectives. He was arrested on a warrant of first degree murder.

Update: ‘I shot him’ -- Orange County police say there’s cause for First Degree Murder charge in Payne death

Payne was a good player at Michigan State University and was considered a terrific recruiting catch from his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He will be remembered by those who follow the Spartans for his deeds off the court. He befriended 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth, a St. Johns resident afflicted with a terminal disease.

Holsworth died just after Payne’s final season at Michigan State University in 2014.

“I’m in shock at the tragic news of Adreian Payne’s death. Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones,” said MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo. “He will long be remembered by Spartan fans for his kind heart.”

Dwayne Stephens, a Western Michigan University coach and former MSU assistant, said Payne called him Sunday to wish Stephens’ wife a happy Mother’s Day.

He received the tragic news Monday morning.

“I think coach Izzo and I kind of heard the news at the same time. He called and he was in tears on the phone. I was in tears. It’s just unfortunate,” Stephens said. “I hate to see such a kid, a kid with such a bright future and such a nice person -- Obviously, his relationship with Lacey was well-documented. I think that that story tells the story of who Adrienne Payne was.”

After MSU, Payne went on to play for the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic. School officials said Payne left MSU in 2014 as one of nine players in program history with 1,200 career points (1,232) and 700 career rebounds (735), while also ranking as the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots (141) at the time.

“Adreian was loved by his teammates and coaches, who respected his development as a player and a person,” Izzo said.

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