July 8, 2009
Video: Payne vs Sullinger at Lebron Skills Academy
AKRON - Teammates on the talented All-Ohio Red 17-and-under program, Adreian Payne and J.J. Sullinger make-up one of the most feared frontcourt tandems on the summer circuit.
On Monday night at the Lebron James Skills Academy, however, the two All-Ohio Red teammates found themselves on opposite benches as the two squared off in evening scrimmages. Playing on a team that featured Michigan State commitment Russell Byrd, Payne appeared to relish going up against his summer teammate and the No. 20 ranked player in 2010 handled the physical post play of Sullinger better than most.
In the scrimmage setting neither Payne nor Sullinger received the number of touches that they would playing on their summer team, but both players competed hard and scrapped when they did get the ball and each did a nice job of opening up the perimeter for their teammates.
Payne is one of a number of players that Michigan State is looking at to fill what appears to be the final scholarship spot in their 2010 recruiting class. The Spartans already have commitments from Detroit Pershing point guard Keith Appling, Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Blackhawk Christian wing Russell Byrd, and skilled Eaton Rapids (Mich.) big man Alex Gauna.
Byrd only recently became aware that Michigan State was recruiting Payne. After watching the Dayton Jefferson star in action, Byrd can see why the Spartans like Payne.
"He is an outstanding athlete, he makes a lot of plays and he is great shot blocker," said Byrd. "I am going to spend some time trying to get him to come to State with me."
In addition to Payne, Michigan State is recruiting a number of prospects for the final spot. The Spartans have offers extended to Grand Ledge (Mich.) standout Jon Horford and Mt. Pleasant (Mich.) star Trey Zeigler.
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