Adreian Payne had one of the most impressive NCAA Tournament game performances in recent memory. The Michigan State senior forward scored 41 points in the Spartans’ opening contest against Delaware, going 17-of-17 from the free-throw line. More impressive than his stat line, though, is what Payne was dealing with during that time.
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Payne told ESPN.com that he had undiagnosed mononucleosis in January, but didn’t find out about the illness until last month while preparing for the NBA Combine, which begins this week. Payne will miss the event’s physical aspects.
“I was tired all the time,” Payne told ESPN. “I would come into the locker room at halftime and be struggling to catch my breath. I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, but I just thought I had to. When I found out it was mono, everything made sense.”
The illness did not seem to truly harm Payne’s play, though. From January on, the forward had nine games with at least 16 points.