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.