Payne was at MSU from 2010-14, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in his senior season under coach Tom Izzo.
Former Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne has died at the age of 31, the school announced Monday.
Payne was at MSU from 2010-14, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in his senior season under coach Tom Izzo. His friendship with 8-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth over his final two seasons gained national media attention.
He left the Spartans as one of nine players in program history with 1,200 career points (1,232) and 700 career rebounds (735).
"Adreian was loved by his teammates and coaches, who respected his development as a player and a person. He came to Michigan State with a ton of raw talent and put in the work to reach his goal of becoming an NBA player," Izzo said in a release. "Beyond that, he will long be remembered by Spartan fans for his kind heart, as his friendship and genuine bond with Lacey Holsworth touched the nation.
"Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family. Following graduation, Adreian regularly returned to East Lansing. In doing so, he developed and strengthened relationships with players from all eras. I've heard from many of those players today, each one experiencing heartbreak, and each one with their own fond memory of Adreian."
Payne went on to play in the NBA for four years after the Atlanta Hawks selected him with the No. 15 pick in the 2014 draft. He also played for the Timberwolves and Magic, peaking at 52 games with Minnesota in the 2015-16 season.
He was waived while on a two-way deal with Orlando in 2018 after ESPN reported that Payne and teammate Keith Appling were accused of sexually assaulting a freshman woman at MSU in 2010. Payne then played in multiple international leagues, including with Greek team Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague and Juventus Utena in the Lithuanian Basketball League.
Adreian Payne, former Michigan State basketball star, dies at 31 - The Athletic View Story