Report: Payne Staying For Sr. Year

A decision took much longer than expected. In the end, the wait was well for it for Michigan State fans.

Spartan senior Adreian Payne will return to school in the fall, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound big man weighed his NBA options with the help of coach Tom Izzo, ultimately deciding to come back for his senior season shortly before Sunday’s 11:59 p.m. early entry deadline.

Payne did not request an evaluation from the NBA draft advisory committee, instead relying on Izzo’s well-sourced information gathering from various league personnel and others. Gary Harris also announced last week he will return to MSU next fall, meaning the Spartans lose only center Derrick Nix from the 2012-13 roster.

Payne started 24 games this season and played mostly at power forward in the second half of the year. He averaged 10.5 points per game and led the team with 7.8 rebounds and 46 blocked shots. Payne also emerged as a reliable 3-point threat, hitting 38 percent of his shots beyond the perimeter.

Most analysts projected Payne as a fringe first-round selection who could slip to the second round. It made for a tough decision considering there are no guaranteed contracts for second-round draft picks.

Payne is on pace to earn his bachelor’s degree next year and recently said he could graduate early, but will need to take extra courses in order to stay eligible for the 2013-14 season.

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