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Complete Transcript of Payne-Izzo Press Conference
 
 
 
Adreian Payne announced his decision to return for his senior season on Sunday night.
 
Adreian Payne announced his decision to return for his senior season on Sunday night.
 
 

April 28, 2013

Adreian Payne Press Conference
April 28, 2013

Complete Press Conference Video

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and returning forward Adreian Payne

Opening statement...
Payne: "First of all I would like to thank everyone for coming out and just announce that I am going to stay my senior year and try to get us to a championship and that is the most important thing. I sat down and thought about it and first of all I want to thank you all, I apologize for the wait because it was a hard decision. It was the first big decision I had to make without my grandmother. It was hard so I had help from coach Izzo, coaching staff and my high school coaches back at home. Without them I would not be able to sit here and say how hard it was. Without them I wouldn't be able to make a decision like this and without their support."

On the impact of the high school coaches ...
Payne: " First of all, you know I am 22 years old and I am old enough to make my own decisions in life. Like I said this is my first big decision without my grandmother. With their support they were able to bring things to my attention that I wasn't able to see. That's what you have parents for, unfortunately I didn't had my grandmother to do that. With the knowledge of coach Izzo and my high school coaches they were able to bring some things to my attention that I didn't see. Like I said it was a big decision."

On the difficulty of the decision ...
Payne: "You know It was very difficult. Everywhere I went people were asking me what I was going to do. They wanted me to come back. The support here, the support from the fans, the Spartan family, and Spartan nation is a family."

 

 

On waiting until the last minute to decide ...
Payne: "It was going back and forth, I couldn't tell you. It was like one of those swings that go back and forth, that little kid or daughter go back and forth on them. With a big decision like that, I don't know anybody who has to go through a situation like that, but coach Izzo here on my right. So he gave me his information. He told me all the decisions he had to make in life and I just try to use his examples and things like that from his situation and put them to mine."

On making the situation to leave Michigan State ...
Payne: "I was never 100% on what I should do. Basically when I did declare I thought I was going to go out. "I thought you were" said head coach Tom Izzo. Yeah, coach did think so, a lot of people did. I have not even talked to my brothers about the situation and tell them what I was going to do. It was just mind blowing."

On reason of remaining at MSU...
Payne: "The main factor was that I wanted to graduate. I promised that to my grandmother. That is the main thing, I promised that to her and that is something I am going to do."

On the information that came to him to help decide...
Payne: "It was information that I was going to be a first round pick. It was just used as things with me coming back the things I want to accomplish with the team we have here at Michigan State. We have a great team, with everybody coming back with Gary (Harris) and I we have the chance to get to a final four and win a national championship."

Coach Izzo opening statement...
Izzo: "Mark Hollis in the back room, Mark talked to Adreian some. I have told you guys a million times that I don't tell people if somebody's father dies, or mother dies, my parents are still alive, I never tell them I know what you are going through. I found myself talking to AP and I actually knew what he was going through. As difficult as what I went through a few years ago and as mad as some people were. As I look back I understand some of it, I talked to a lot of coaches this past weekend and I think the information I gave them was, it is just so broad. The system is not fair for these guys. It is so broad, yeah most people agreed not only were he in the first round but, but he could play himself up even more. But what everybody reminded me is now a day with things that have changed in the NBA, from the number of years. How do you stay in the NBA? To stay in the NBA you have to be so prepared in the being. Three, four years ago they used to take guys and kind of make them better, make them better, make them better. Now they don't keep you around as long. So when you look at all of that information. It is not just where you get drafted but where you are in position. I think the things we talked about and the list that we had. What are your important factors? Graduation, this guy is going to graduate. All but graduated at the semester and he has one class he has to take the last semester. Most of you know, it has been well documented story on what he has done. It is remarkable, to sit there thanks to Mark Hollis. He sat with me for three days. Listened to every conversation I had with a G.M., listen A.P. did some of that. I sat with him for times, we met at night from 8 to 11 at times, and we did different things. It's very difficult, Mark gave me his opinion, to why it would be better to do this or do this. But he listened, it was hard for me. I think Draymond Green I read him a text he sent me at 5 A.M. this morning that talked about Adreian's grandmother and that maybe you know for me, for 90% of you, you might have had your mother there to help you make decisions. If she wasn't there your grandmother was there. Adrian lost both, so I can't appreciate I can only acknowledge what it is like to have to make a life changing decision. I felt like the job he did analyzing it, I think Fred in my mind on Friday he was going. That's my mind; I had all the stuff for him when I left. His high school coaches know him a little better than I do, they all sat down. It is such a tough decision because you asked where are you late first. How many guys do you put in the late first? There could be 30 that they say are that. Some are going to be better some are going to be worse. So it really couldn't come down to trusting the draft. That didn't bother him. He knew that he could play himself up. I think his coaches just felt, he left. I got called down in Virginia and that's what I want to tell you. Talk radio, Twitter, each one of you will analyze it what you think. Unless you walked in those shoes it is so hard, there are so many people who were mad at me three years ago because I took my time. The only reason it is this way in fairness to him is I was flying back. I was trying to get back earlier today and I couldn't. So otherwise it wouldn't have been in the last hour but it would have been today. He did agonize over it. But I guess the good part about agonizing like I told him, because my A.D. gave me a chance to explore something, I came back with even more passion. We went to a final four that year. I am expecting the same. I am demanding the same. I don't know if that helps any if you ask him questions but try to realize what he has been through. It will be a little different than what most of us have gone through."

On the support of the high school coaches...
Izzo: "Well I have always had that with A.P. but you're right with other players I have had. His coaches have been very involved since the recruiting stage, right on through the academic thing. I used to sit at that parking lot when he was getting tutored here and I'd wait with the coaches. So I got to know them. There are so many cool things about Dr. Gates that happened back then. But Art and Mark have been great. They have helped me understand him sometimes. Sometimes I am hoping that they have helped him understand me. I am sure that did happen. So it is why more high school coaches should be involved with these kids. I mean they understand it, and they understood his life. They understood who he was. So I think it helped B.J. and myself back then."

Thoughts on the hard work of Tom Izzo...
Payne: "It just shows the support and love he has for each player. His players, his staff, because our program. It shows how hard he works and how dedicated he is to his craft without that the program wouldn't be as successful as it is."

On when the decision to stay was made...
Payne: "It was right after I got done with my high school coaches. We sat down and came to an agreement and we called coach Izzo and then from there. It was Saturday.

Izzo: "I think he was going to sleep on it, his coaches told him to call and wait. I was pleasantly surprised if you want the truth. Don't take waffling. This isn't politics. Don't take waffling as not knowing something of what you were doing because I think Mark would attest that I too went back and forth on some things. I mean guys when people well why does he want to go? I say and with a couple of guys in finals right now but as they filter around. Every guy wants to go pro. Every single player in football, basketball, hockey and baseball wants to go pro. If they didn't I wouldn't recruit them. Every single one and they want to go as fast as they can go. I mean that is normal. Thank god he looked at some other factors and other dreams and goals he has and kind of put them all together and hey. You never like hearing thing but he did a phenomenal job of putting it all together. With people in his ears both ways too. Some telling him to go, some telling him to stay. I have been through that so I can appreciate that."

On going through the process with Gary Harris and the rest of the team...
Payne: "We definitely talked before about his situation and my situation. Gary's like my little brother and we've built a relationship. I've built a relationship with all the guys on the team. It's something like that can bond you and make a team come together. I think with me coming back, it's going to make us tighter. I think that we have a better chemistry and we're all in for the same reason. Like OG would say, `All in.' That's' the main thing, we all have one goal and that's to get to a championship."

On what he wants to improve on...
Payne: "I would like to work on my post game, getting the ball and shooting off a dribble. Also, Dribble pull-up because that's my strength. The main thing is my legs with conditioning and being a leader.

On the potential of the team next year and keeping the streak of every recruit who stays four years with Izzo goes to the Final Four...
Payne: "That's very important and I think we are very motivated. Keith (Appling) and I have to lead the team to a final four and a national championship. I think we've got a great team, we've got the pieces, we just have to come together and once we do that we'll be on a roll."

On the information he received from agents and other people to make his decision...
Payne: "We didn't get anything different. Coach Izzo did a great job working day and night. He wasn't going to let anything slip through his fingers. Once we met with the agents and compared their information to his, it helped me come up with my conclusion to come back. We talked to five agents and it was all last week. My coaches came up as well.

On talking to general managers in the NBA...
Izzo: "One of the things that most of them said to me was that he could be a higher pick than a lot of people. With some guys, their needle is going up. Other guys have hit a plateau. If you plateau, you should be coming out. If your needle is going up, we've got some goals for where we want to get him. We're going to have other guys who will be in this situation. and I think that one thing that Adreian and I are going to do is sit down with our team and talk about the information that we gather from other players and agents. I was really impressed that people aren't quite as crazy about everybody just getting out for no reason anymore. They want you to really take a good look at it. There's this big deal now with only two years guaranteed of kids getting there when they're ready to go. So they're getting that second contract. There seems to be a lot of guys that aren't getting to that second contract. I wouldn't underestimate that his needle going up. I had meetings this year in January and February and I would say to my coaches, `who's playing the best?' Most times, they would say Adreian. I asked who was watching the most film, most time shooting. Very, very seldom do you say that about a big guy. Most of the time that's the little guard that you're talking about. I think that makes me feel that when he comes back, he'll have both feet, long arms and every other part of his body will be in. I'm glad he's added something, because I think that when he said he wanted to be a leader, that's going to be very important for this team. We had great chemistry, but we needed more leadership. I think he did something else that he told me. He called Greg Kelser, Steve Smith, Jason Richardson, Mateen Cleaves, Draymond Green. Nobody that I know told him, `Don't go' or `Go for sure.' That's what makes it hard. When I had to make my decision, everyone is afraid to tell you because they don't want to get blamed. For me, I think he could've gone. I knew his grandmother. He thinks it would've been easier if his grandmother were here. He's right, it would've been. It would've been over a month ago. She would've grabbed him and me by the back of the hair. Don't think his grandmother would've helped him leave; she would've helped him in another other way. I think it's about a variety of goals and not just one goal."

On if he had talked to his grandmother about the potential for this...
Payne: "I never really talked about leaving early to her. That never crossed my mind. She would support me. She would definitely be happy and proud of me. She would definitely want me to graduate."

On the importance of his degree...
Payne: "I definitely like doing things the right way. With me graduating, I'm able to set a standard and be a role model for kids that look up to me; not just me, but athletes in general. I can give hope to another child that may be in the same situation as me, to let them know that it's possible. You've got other players, like Lebron (James) and how great he is. You don't have to be like that or look like that, you don't have to put up big numbers. Everybody's different. I would just like to give hope to other kids that may not have it."

On his sleeping...
Payne: "I'm definitely going to sleep much better. It was crazy sleeping that past couple weeks. I waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about everything. Sometimes I would just lay in bed thinking about what I want to do. It was crazy. I'm definitely going to sleep well tonight."

On dealing with people saying what to do...
Payne: "Really, I think I'm mentally tough. I listen to people, because I don't like being disrespectful. I listen to them and show courtesy. But at the end of the day it's my decision and I made it."

On the impact of education on this decision...
Payne: "That's why I chose Michigan State was because of their academic program. Gretchen Paige and Jim helped me so much in so many ways. Without them, I wouldn't be here. That's another reason why I chose Michigan State was because I wanted to graduate and they had the best plan for me. If you give me a plan, I'm going to do it."

On whether the agents advised him to go...
Payne: "They didn't advise me to do anything. They were very well-respected and good men. They said that they would want to represent if I came out this year or the next."

On Adreian's role next year...
Izzo: "It's funny because listen to the different people that called me, the ones that were pro and con and why should he come out. One of the reasons that they said was you know you've got Keith (Appling), Gary (Harris), Adreian Payne, Branden (Dawson), they're all pro-prospects. And I said, yeah and I remember getting beat by the North Carolina Celtics and they had five of them and they were all that way. What I'm hoping that we can do is run more. He's got to be a go-to guy because of the way he can score inside and outside. That's why I was so excited this year when he really started to spend a lot more time watching film, because I think that's an area he can really grow in as far as decision making and to be able to play through somebody. Draymond Green and I talked about that with him because he's going to have other guys, the last one was Travis Walton, who wanted to keep this streak alive. If it means something to you, it means you have ownership in the program. I guess I'm blessed that I've got guys that it means something to. I don't think it's going to define me or not define me whether it happens. But I do think it's a pretty incredible feat and an incredible goal to be a part of. I think he's going to be a guy that we're going to be able to go to a lot. I think you saw his confidence grow. I'm still mesmerized by the mid-season turnaround of his conditioning. I think that goes with confidence. We all know he struggled to play a lot of minutes. Yet, we all know that mid-way on, he just seemed to find a different gear. I think sometimes that goes with when you're nervous and when you're comfortable and different things like that because it wasn't even a factor. That's going to be very important. We're going to need him as a leader because he does put a lot into the game. I can tell you some great big guys that I had that just did not love the game and he does love the game. I think he's going to be a real gem for somebody next year because of that."

Closing statement...
Izzo: "I was fortunate because his two high school coaches really were special. If there's something you get out of this-here's a kid that's coming back to school to get a degree that because, we say his grandmother, but it's a lot more than his grandmother. I think it's himself. With Adreian, there's no secret that he's been close with a lot of young kids, some that have been underprivileged, some that have had certain illnesses. Being a role model, you don't get to walk part of the steps, you have to walk all the steps. This is going to be a big thing to him. Back in Dayton, his coaches tell me that there are kids walking around school with those big Michigan State camp shirts and his long shirts because he gives his stuff away. It's amazing. He's going to be a role model back there. I know how hard it's been. Nobody's fooling you up here. It doesn't matter that there was one time when he was kind of out the door, what matters is that he made the decision to come back inside. When you do that, the commitment is going to be 12 months now. The commitment goes both ways. It goes from Adreian to his teammates and the coaching staff and from his teammates and the coaching staff to Adreian. He's earned the right now, not because he came back, but because halfway through the year he made basketball incredibly important. He's probably one of the more accountable guys that I've ever coached here. We're going to take all those pluses and someday when he does interview with an NBA team, he's going to have a hell-of-a resume to put in front of them. He's going to be more prepared physically, even more mentally and I think even more skilled. Let's hope that we get this team and go somewhere special next year."

Payne: "Thank you all for coming and have a good night."

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