With no other point guard on the Hawkeye roster, Payne immediately projects as a starter.
“Everything fits,” Payne told the Quad City Times. “The coaches, the campus, the program, I liked it all. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I just wish I could have gotten to this point sooner.”
The one time DePaul commit and Alabama signee came to the right place. Payne needed somewhere to play and Iowa desperately needed a point guard. The 6-foot-1 Schaumburg, Ill., product averaged 22 points and 5.5 assists in 16 games as a high school senior before missing the rest of the season with a back injury.
espn.com’s scouting report rates Payne an 87 overall and praises his ability to run the point. “He is a coach’s dream at the point -- a floor general that runs the team, makes good decisions, and is as tough and hardnosed as they come,” the report reads.
According to the evaluation, Payne’s weaknesses are his lack of quickness and ability to create shots for himself.
However, Payne will fit into Iowa’s system with his outside shooting talent, ball handling and passing. He’s a great find for Lickliter, especially this late in the recruiting period. Payne is expected to sign a letter of intent Wednesday and officially become a Hawk.
Here’s how next season’s starting lineup now projects:
F Matt Gatens
C Jarryd Cole
G Anthony Tucker
G Devan Bawinkel
G Cully Payne
Of course this is subject to change. Highly sought after point guard Malcolm Armstead of Chipola Junior College will make a visit to Iowa City this week. Ideally for Iowa, Armstead will follow Payne and call Carver home. That would give the Hawkeyes another point guard and give Payne competition for playing time.
Lickliter’s recruiting has been called into question by many Hawkeye fans and observers, but you have to give him credit for aggressively pursuing many of the best available backcourt options for the 2009 class. If they can reel in Armstead and possibly one more quality juco, the Iowa program may not have to take another step backward.
*Image from the Daily Herald