Former Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne was shot and killed Sunday morning near Orlando, Florida, police said.
Payne, 31, was a 6-foot-10, 240-pound force in the paint for the Spartans, and that helped him earn his way into the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, going 15th-overall to the Atlanta Hawks.
He spent time in the league with the Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic, and played for Juventus Utena, a professional team in the Lithuanian Basketball League, earlier this year.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Payne was shot early Sunday morning at around 1:37 a.m. and was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital, according to reports. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the alleged shooter was identified as Lawrence Dority, and he was reportedly taken into custody at the scene and charged with first-degree murder.
The big man helped lead Michigan State to a Big Ten title in 2014, averaging 16.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He was a second-team All-Big Ten pick as a junior and senior. Payne was also known for a relationship he developed with an 8-year-old cancer patient, Lacey Holsworth. Holsworth, who was battling neuroblastoma, escorted Payne onto the court for senior night, and was on hand when the team won the Big Ten title and was even able to help cut down the net.
She died on April 18, 2014.
“It can’t be all about you,” Payne told the Detroit Free Press. “I think that’s the one thing I’ve learned now that I probably didn’t know as a freshman. That’s true with your teammates. What can you do to help make them better?
“And it’s true with other you meet. It’s important to have a role in other people’s lives that you care for.”