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#pounditTuesday, July 5, 2022

Former Michigan State star Adreian Payne dies — dead at 31

Adreian Payne with the Timberwolves

Jul 18, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne (33) looks on during a free throw attempt during the NBA Summer League final against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne has died.

Jared Sullinger, who was a star in the Big Ten at Ohio State when Payne played in the conference, sent a tweet on Monday saying the sad news of Payne’s death had been shared with him.

Chris Solari of The Detroit Free Press confirmed that Payne has died. He was 31.

Payne played for Tom Izzo at Michigan State from 2010-2014. He averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his senior season and helped lead the Spartans to the Elite Eight, where they lost to eventual national champion UConn.

Payne was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He played just one season with the team before spending time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic and several G-League teams. Payne then went overseas to play for Panathinaikos in Greece and helped them win a Greek League Baseball championship in 2018.

The last team Payne played for was Juventus in the Lithuania Basketball League this past season.

One of the best stories from Payne’s career had nothing to do with basketball. He became close friends with 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth during his senior season when Holsworth was battling cancer. Holsworth died a week after she was Payne’s escort during Senior Night. Payne honored her with his outfit at the NBA Draft.

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