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Michigan State Releases Statement On Adreian Payne's Death

A general view of Michigan State's basketball court.

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 24: General view of the Breslin Student Event Center as the Michigan State Spartans play against the Santa Clara Broncos on November 24, 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The basketball world has been in mourning today following the passing of former Michigan State star Adreian Payne at the age of 31. 

Payne was a five-star recruit in 2010 who overcame a permanent lung ailment to become a two-time All-Big Ten selection. He helped the Spartans win two Big Ten titles and reach the Sweet 16 three times with a trip to the Elite Eight in 2014.

In a statement released this afternoon, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo expressed shock at Payne's death. He praised Payne for being such an incredibly kind man and for all of the relationships he developed in the basketball program.


"I'm in shock at the tragic news of Adreian Payne's death," Michigan State men's basketball 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.

"Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family. Following graduation, Adreian regularly returned to East Lansing. In doing so, he developed and strengthened 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."

After graduating from Michigan State, Adreian Payne was taken 15th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. He played four NBA seasons for three different teams before taking his talents overseas.

Between 2018 and 2022 he played professional basketball in Greece, China, France, Turkey and Lithuania before returning to the United States.

Payne was shot and killed early this morning in Orlando, Florida. A suspect has since been arrested in relation to the shooting. 

Our hearts go out to Payne's family and loved ones.