By The Associated Press
Adreian Payne, a former Michigan State basketball standout and NBA player, has died in a shooting. He was 31.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to a shooting at 1:34 a.m. Monday when Payne was identified and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Lawrence Dority, 29, was present at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant after homicide detectives interviewed him.
“I’m in shock at the tragic news,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones. 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. 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.”
Izzo said that after Payne graduated he regularly returned to the school and developed 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,” Izzo said.
Payne played in 107 NBA games, averaging four points and three rebounds, over four seasons with Atlanta, Minnesota and Orlando. The Hawks drafted him No. 15 overall in 2014, traded him to the Timberwolves, and he averaged 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds as a potentially promising rookie.
The Magic waived the 6-foot-10 forward in January 2018, after he was part of an ESPN report that detailed sexual assault allegations against former basketball and football players at the school.
Payne played professionally earlier this year for Juventus in Lithuania. He also played in Turkey, France, Greece and China.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Payne started in 94 of 138 games over four seasons for Izzo and averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds as a senior during the 2013-14 season.
Former college teammate Brandon Wood said he had kept in touch with Payne, speaking with him as recently as last month about his plans to start a non-fungible token.
“He was looking to start an NFT tied to the Spartans,” Wood said in a telephone interview. “I’ll never forget the good times I had with him and Draymond (Green) when we were roommates; if you ever spent time around AP, you understood that he had a really big heart and he cared about people.”
Michigan State great Magic Johnson remembered Payne with a post on social media. “Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and Spartan Nation! Adreian will be sorely missed,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
While at Michigan State Payne befriended 8-year-old, cancer-stricken Lacey Holsworth and spoke at her memorial ceremony in April 2014.
“I’ve had my moments when I’ve been mad at AP because he didn’t do something right,” Izzo said in a 2014 interview with the Big Ten Network. “I’ve been happy with him, I’ve been proud of him, I’ve been disappointed. All the things that go on in coaching. But until the day I die, I’ll never forget those couple of scenes that I was privileged to be part of thanks to him.”
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