Former Michigan State Star Adreian Payne Dead At 31

By Jason Hall

May 9, 2022

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Championship
Photo: Getty Images North America

Former Michigan State men's basketball standout Adreian Payne has died at the age of 31, Detroit Free Press reporter Chris Solari confirmed.

Payne's death was initially reported by former Ohio State and NBA big man Jared Sullinger Sr.

"Hate the news i received this morning…. Rest Easy to my brother/Teammate @Adreian_Payne," Sullinger tweeted on Monday (May 9).

Payne was four-year starter at Michigan State, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during his senior season, which earned him Second Team All-Big Ten honors.

The center also gained national attention during the 2013-14 season for his friendship with Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old cancer patient whom he met during a team-sponsored visit to a hospital in 2011.

Holsworth accompanied Payne at center court on Senior Night and helped him cut down the nets after the Spartans' Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament championship, shortly before her death on April 8, 2014.

Payne was selected by the Atlanta Hawks at No. 15 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft and split his professional playing career between the NBA and international leagues, which included stints with the Hawks (2014-15), Minnesota Timberwolves (2015-17) and Orlando Magic (2017-18).

Payne most recently played for Juventus Utena of the Lithuanian Basketball League, averaging 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game before leaving the team in February 2022.

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