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Welcome, Adreian Payne

The Commitment

Interview with ESPN is here.  (HT: Chris in Kzoo).

The Basics

  • 6'9" or 6'10", 210-215 pounds, 7'2" wingspan (!).
  • Entering senior season at Jefferson Township High School in Dayton, OH.
  • Rated a 5-star recruit and top-5 2010 center by both Rivals and Scout.
  • Scouts, Inc. gives him a rating of 95.
  • Selected MSU over Arizona, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
  • Added: Forgot his high school stats: 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game as a junior.  Second-team all-Ohioan.

The Scouting Report

Scouts, Inc. on Payne's offensive skillset:

He just glides down the floor in transition and can finish above the rim over or around defenders. Payne is very athletic and is more skilled than he gets credit for. He makes quick spin moves in the low post and simply elevates over defenders. He can step out on the perimeter and knock down the mid range jumper off the coach and with time and space even hit the three ball.

On the other end of the court:

Payne was tough to score against. He needs to gain a considerable amount of weight and overall strength to combat getting pushed around, but his ability to cover ground in the paint area and contest both shots as well as passes coming into the post was special.

And in the category of less-specific-but-wonderfully-hype-filled commentary:

His skill set is not seen very often in high school or on the summer circuit. Most players you can see their potential and know what you're getting, but Payne has so much untapped potential that it will be fun to watch his development. The only player in the 2010 class who might have more potential is Perry Jones, who's ranked No. 3 in the ESPNU 100 and is the top power forward. But make no mistake, Payne has all the tools to make it to the professional level.

Among Izzo-era MSU basketball players, Payne would seem most comparable to Zach Randolph and Delvon Roe.  But he's probably a little longer/leaner and maybe a touch more athletic than either of those guys (although not necessarily more skilled).  It's hard to say how he would compare with Roe if Roe hadn't been injured as a high school senior.  Payne comes in with as much potential--at least of the NBA variety--as any recruit Tom Izzo has reeled in during his time as head coach.

The Highlights

There are also video highlights at the Scouts, Inc. (ESPN) link.

The Class

Payne becomes the 4th and final member of Michigan State's 2010 recruiting class, as all 13 scholarships slots for the 2010-11 season are now accounted for.  (This presumably means MSU is no longer a potential destination for Trey Zeigler.)  The class should rank in the top 5 nationally and is nicely balanced position-wise:

  • Combo guard Keith Appling (4 stars)
  • Sharp-shooting swingman Russell Byrd (4 stars)
  • Big man Alex Gauna (3 stars)
  • Big/fast/single-building-bounding man Adreian Payne (5 stars)

That's 16 stars!

These four gentlemen will presumably all make it official in two weeks.  November 11 marks the beginning of the early signing period.

The Outlook

Here's the updated projected roster (always available on the left sidebar):

2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Points Lucas Lucas
Lucious Lucious Lucious
  Appling Appling Appling Appling
Wings Morgan Byrd Byrd Byrd Byrd
Allen Allen
Summers Summers
Thornton Thornton Thornton
Bigs Roe Roe Roe
Green Green Green
Nix Nix Nix Nix
Sherman Sherman Sherman Sherman
Herzog Herzog
Gauna Gauna Gauna Gauna
  Payne Payne Payne Payne

On a day when the team was designated the second best in the nation going into this season, one hates to look ahead to next season.  But that 2010-11 roster sure looks stacked, doesn't it?  Raymar Morgan departs (along with Isaiah Dahlman), but the four-man 2010 class will step in to add depth across the board, with Payne hopefully being an instant impact performer.

The roster will be somewhat skewed toward post guys, with 7 "bigs" and just 6 perimeter players on scholarship.  Draymond Green should continue to hone those ball-handling and shooting skills, as he may need to slide over to the 3 spot regularly as a junior.  Payne would appear to have the athleticism to play small forward, although I'm not sure that's something Izzo would be comfortable doing right off the bat.

The other implication of the depth up front  is that a redshirt year for Alex Gauna seems like a safe bet.  Derrick Nix or Garrick Sherman could also take a redshirt year as a sophomore if it makes sense from a development standpoint.

I've shown Payne on the roster for four years, but completing a full 4-year term as a Spartan is probably not in the cards--as evidenced by the NBA-logoed sweatshirt he wore to his press conference today.  Yesterday, I was rueing the negative impact early departures had on the program between 2001 and 2007.  But I don't think it's anything to be concerned about in this case, for two reasons:

  • The early departures Izzo could see coming (Randolph/Richardson) have generally been easier to deal with the ones that have happened unexpectedly (Taylor/Lorbek).
  • There'll be plenty of depth down low for the 2011-12 season even if Payne is a one-and-done guy.

The risk of an one-season stay in East Lansing is well worth it, given that Payne is filling the 13th scholarship slot available.  And hopefully, an early departure for the NBA would be the result of Payne having achieved personal and team success.  The fact he's committed to MSU despite the depth that already exists on the team's roster for next season would indicate he's not just interested in showcasing his skills somewhere at the expense of developing in a competitive team situation.

All in all, this was an outstanding day to be a Spartan.  The future is bright, my friends.  Oh, and so is the present.