October 29, 2009

Payne says comfort level put State over the top

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and his staff have pounded the recruiting trail pavement hard since their remarkable run to the NCAA title game in Detroit.

The Spartans' heightened recruiting effort paid off on Thursday as five-star Dayton (Ohio) Jefferson star Adreian Payne publicly announced his commitment to the Spartans during a segment on ESPNU'S Recruiting Insider. The segment was taped early afternoon on Thursday and aired during the 5-oclock hour.

Payne said that it was difficult decision filled with pressure.

"I decided to go to Michigan State," said Payne before putting on a white Michigan State hat. "I felt real comfortable stepping on campus and going there. There were a lot of good things, such as the academics and a good basketball program. That is what I was looking for in the school, the relationship with he head coach."

Michigan State beat out West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, and Kansas for the commitment of Payne.

The Spartans had commitments from Russell Byrd and Keith Appling before the spring AAU season. Izzo and his staff added skilled local big man Alex Gauna after the Eaton Rapids star had a strong spring with the Michigan Mustangs. Byrd, Appling, and Gauna together give Michigan State a class that should rank in the Top 25 nationally and among the best in the Big Ten.

The addition of Payne gives Michigan State a consensus Top 10 class and a potential Top 5 class if the Spartans are able to fill out the 2010 haul with Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) High standout Trey Zeigler.

Payne is ranked No. 20 in the senior class and the No. 4 center by Rivals.com.

Izzo and his staff trailed Payne around the country during the July evaluation period making sure that they were front and center for each one of Payne's games.

A 6-foot-10 forward from Dayton, Payne is the first Spartan out of the region to play for Izzo since Trotwood Madison's Andre Hutson.

Hutson had a tremendous career at Michigan State, but Payne has a game that is closer to that of Goran Suton.

"Adreian can step away from the bucket and Andre Hutson was strictly back-to-the basket," explained Winston. "Andre was a very good basketball player and an outstanding rebounder. What I remember about Andre is that he was a really strong kid, a great rebounder, a jump hook and he could knock down the 8-footer and anything around the bucket.

"Adreian is more like a Kevin Garnett of basketball player. He can step out and shoot. He can also play with his back to the bucket. He can shoot threes. He can shoot the 18-footer. He can shooter the 8 footer. He can shoot the right hand jump hook. He can shoot the left-hand jump hook."

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