The Michigan State Spartans family suffered a stunning loss earlier today with the shocking death of Adreian Payne, who was gunned down in Florida; his murderer is now in police custody. Payne was only 31 years of age.
Immediately after the news broke and was later confirmed, tributes and condolences began pouring in from Spartans alumni and fans. And now, head coach Tom Izzo has offered his reaction.
“Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones,” Izzo said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “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.”
Tom Izzo on the death of former MSU star Adreian Payne. pic.twitter.com/9UUnlzDmLW
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) May 9, 2022
Of course, fans will always remember his touching friendship with Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old cancer patient who would succumb to the disease a mere three weeks after Michigan State's conference championship.
Payne average 16.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Spartans and helped lead them to the Elite Eight in the 2013-14 season. He would be selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and would later also suit up for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic during a five-year NBA career.