Former Michigan State University basketball player Adreian Payne was shot and killed in Orlando, Florida, Detroit Free Press reports.
The basketball star was pronounced dead after the Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at 1:37 a.m. 29-year-old Lawrence Dority was arrested by deputies at the scene of the crime.
“He was just all about life,” said former MSU teammate Anthony Ianni who played alongside Payne from 2010-12. “He was all about putting smiles on people’s faces. And he was just a kind and gentle soul.”
During his time at MSU, Payne broke the university’s postseason record with 41 points against Delaware in the 2014 NCAA tournament’s first round. He also finished his career at the school as MSU’s all-time leader in blocks. Players Xavier Tillman and Marcus Bingham Jr. have since broken the record.
Payne is also one of 10 Spartans to score 1,200 career points and 700 career rebounds.
“Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family. Following graduation, Adreian regularly returned to East Lansing,” said MSU coach Tom Izzo in an official statement. “In doing so, he developed and strengthened relationships with players from all eras. I’ve heard from many of those players today, each one experiencing heartbreak, and each one with their own fond memory of Adreian.”
— Michigan State Men’s Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) May 9, 2022
One of his career-defining moments was when Payne befriended a young girl by the name of Lacey Holsworth who was battling cancer at St. John’s Hospital. The eight-year-old passed just shy of the MSU 2013-14 season ending. Prior to that, Lacey and Payne cut down the nets following the team’s Big Ten tournament title.
“The one thing that comforts me a little bit with his passing is that he’s not just reunited with his mom, who he lost as a kid,” Ianni continued. “He’s not just reunited with his grandmother, who he lost just before the start of my senior year. But he’s reunited with Lacey. And I think that’s the one thing that may comfort a lot of people during this tragedy.”
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