When basketball fans sit down to watch the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft Thursday night, they'll see players selected from schools like Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, Syracuse and Kentucky. But there's a real possibility that one of the lottery picks in the draft actually comes from a school that is usually on nobody's radar - Louisiana-Lafayette. Point guard Elfrid Payton, who stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs just 180 pounds, could very well be taken ahead of some of the bigger names in the event.
Who is Elfrid Payton? In short, he's a floor general who led the Ragin' Cajuns to the NCAA Tournament this past year. He was also the starting point guard for the USA's FIBA U-19 World Championships squad, which won gold last summer.
Payton, while undersized for an NBA guard, can do it all. He averaged 19.2 points per game in his junior season at Lousiana-Lafayette. But he also put up six rebounds per game and just under six assists per contest, showing that he's far more than just a scoring guard. He has a high motor and has no problem being the leader out on the floor, but thus far, he's been relatively soft-spoken off of it.
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Not surprisingly, Payton is a big fan of what fellow small school product Damian Lillard has been able to accomplish. Lillard, for those unaware, attended Weber State, was drafted sixth by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012 and went on to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Payton is slotted to be drafted anywhere from the end of the lottery to the end of the first round. A number of teams have expressed interest in his services, but there is no clear-cut destination at this point. Regardless, you can score another one for the small schools in college basketball.