Louisville, KY June 27, 2015 (Analyzed Sports) By: Charron Elliott
Payne Makes History for Murray State
The state of Kentucky is known by many as a “basketball state” when it comes to what sport it produces the most talent in. A lot of that has to do with the success of the college basketball programs at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, who together have combined for eleven NCAA Men’s Basketball championships. In Thursday night’s NBA draft Louisville’s Terry Rozier was drafted in the first round and Kentucky’s Trey Lyles, Willie Cauley -Stein, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Devin Booker were all drafted as lottery picks (among the top 14 picks of the NBA draft). However there was one player who played college basketball at Murray State University (a Mid-Major school in Kentucky), that was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 14th overall pick in the NBA draft. His name was Cameron Payne, a 6 ft. 7 point guard who many fans didn’t know about until Thursday night.
Cameron Payne averaged nearly 20 points and six assists per game for the Murray State Racers last season. His play got him awarded the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year as he led the league in assists and points per game. Cameron Payne shot nearly 46% from the field last season and made 37% of his three-point attempts as well. More importantly he led the Racers to a 29-6 record last season but they were upset by Belmont in the OVC title game, costing them a berth to the NCAA tournament.
“He Really has a good feel for what’s taking place on the floor, good instincts, competitive, andcerebral,” said Oklahoma General Manager Sam Presti about Cameron Payne’s game. He then went on to say, “Cameron is someone who can fit in, regardless.” As for how he feels about playing basketball in the NBA Cameron Payne stated this, “I’m always down to work always down to keep working. Every day there’s something new I can add to my game.” Payne at only 20 years old isn’t even close to the player he could be.
The Thunder also drafted seven foot center Dakari Johnson out of the University of Kentucky. Johnson only played about 16 minutes per game last season while being a part of John Calipari’s well known “platoon” system. He averaged nearly six points and four rebounds in his sophomore season at Kentucky. Look for Johnson to bring energy off the bench for the Thunder and continue to work on his defensive end of the court. As for Cameron Payne, he is big enough to play at the two guard spot alongside Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. However I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thunder brought Payne off the bench so that he could orchestrate their 2nd unit. At the end of the day Cameron Payne will go down in history as one of the highest drafted NBA players to ever come out of Murray State.