Inside Adreian Payne’s head …

It’d be an interesting place to be right now. A conversation I had with my Tuesday radio partner and former LSJ columnist Jack Ebling left me thinking that more than ever.

Ebling ran into Michigan State’s junior power forward Monday night at a local restaurant and, Tuesday, on and off air, Ebling painted the picture of someone truly struggling with the decision.

Ebling said he spoke with Payne for a few minutes, as Payne sat alone. Payne told him he didn’t know what he was going to do yet. When Ebling asked if he thought this could go right up to the Sunday night deadline, Payne said insisted it wouldn’t.

This anecdote helped me humanize the decision — not think of it terms of MSU or an athlete deciding between school and a quicker paycheck, but try to put myself in Adreian Payne’s shoes.

Big decisions can be lonely, even when there are more than enough people willing to counsel. After all the advice and guidance, it comes down to what Payne wants. And he probably wants both another year at MSU and the NBA.

There are worse decisions to have to make. I don’t feel sorry for him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In his case, his life, much of his family, his emotional security is probably at MSU.

His financial security and a good chunk of his childhood dreams may be in the NBA.

He could come back, play with Gary Harris and take a shot at a national title and fulfill a promise to his late grandmother by getting his degree. Keep playing where he’s comfortable, develop his emerging game further. That has to tug at him.

Or he could do that in the NBA and get his degree later.

I’ve thought the longer Payne went into April without making a decision, the more likely he is to stay at MSU (I thought just the opposite with Harris).

But that’s speaking from the outside, using logic that’s not personal to Payne. And this has to be a personal decision. And for him, clearly isn’t an easy one.

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13 Responses to Inside Adreian Payne’s head …

  1. avatar SpartyOn says:

    Can’t a guy go get some food by himself without being bothered by Jack Ebling? Jeez.

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Just wanted to point something out Graham. When Coach Izzo was going through his decision during the Cleveland Cavs offer in 2010 he got really upset when a reporter called his son Stevens school. He is seriously offended and never forgave that reporter. Joe told me before you got here that he cant just pick up the phone and call a player who is still on Izzos team, MSU wants to control access for active team members. Ebling is a great guy and was nice to us in Tampa, however I think Ebling needs to tread carefully here, limit it to nice weather out today, and how are the cheeseburgers here.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Also I know who that reporter was who called Stevens school and it was not Ebling or anyone on LSJ. Just want to clarify that was just using that as an example.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      Ebling is closer to Izzo than any other reporter by a long shot. He’s been at this forever, since Izzo was an assistant under Jud. Plus, this was a chance encounter at a restaurant. I’d have chatted with him, too.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Yes, Joe said Ebling will probably get the book contract for Izzos memoirs, but things are really sensitive over the next 36 hours , I just think it would have taken pressure off of Payne if he had kept the conversation off the record and non published until after the decision,

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  4. avatar SpartanJoe says:

    It may be difficult for Graham to imagine what’s inside Adreian’s head but not so difficult to imagine what’s inside Graham’s head regarding Adreian’s decision. When Graham talked about Adreian staying in school (4th paragraph from the bottom), he used emotional words. “Fulfill a promise”, “comfortable”, “emerging” and “tug”. When he talked about Adreian leaving school (3rd paragraph from bottom), he said it fact like, no emotions involved. Ask Graham about Adreian staying in school, he’ll give you poetry. Ask him about Adreian leaving school, he’ll give you a prose. Not a critique, just an observation. Go Green!!

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Ancient Upper Peninsula Proverb
      2.7 million in the hand is worth 6.1 million in the bush.

      Exceptional Student-Athlete Disability Insurance Program
      The NCAA also sponsors a disability insurance program for exceptional student-athletes at NCAA institutions in the sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey.
      The program enables qualifying student-athletes, as approved by the program administrator, to purchase disability insurance contracts with preapproved financing, if necessary. This program will provide the student-athlete with the opportunity to protect against future loss of earnings as a professional athlete, due to a disabling injury or sickness that may occur during the collegiate career.
      Student-athletes with remaining athletics eligibility at NCAA institutions in the sports of intercollegiate football, men’s or women’s basketball, baseball, or men’s ice hockey, who have demonstrated they have professional potential to be selected in the first three rounds of the upcoming National Football League or National Hockey League draft or the first round of the upcoming draft of the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, or Women’s National Basketball Association, are eligible for this program.
      Student-athletes approved for this program are automatically eligible for a loan, if necessary, through U.S. Bank, N.A., Sports Division, in Cincinnati Ohio. The interest rate is very competitive and a co-signer is not required. The student-athlete is obligated to repay the loan in full when any of the following occurs: (1) the student-athlete signs a professional contract, (2) the disability benefits become available due to a covered injury or sickness or (3) the coverage is no longer in effect and the loan note matures.

  5. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    saw bob seger last night in reading, PA..absolutely magnificent.

  6. avatar Nancee says:

    All of Spartan Nation want to see Adreian return and have one more year of basketball with the guys under Coach Izzo. It’s a big, tough decision, and I hope he feels relief and contentment when it’s been made. Good luck to Adrian, and hope to watch them take a 2014 national championship.

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