The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to a shooting at 1:34 a.m. Monday when Payne was identified and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Lawrence Dority, 29, was present at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested on a first degree murder warrant after homicide detectives questioned him.
“I am in shock at the tragic news,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Our prayers go out to his family, teammates and loved ones. 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 achieve his goal of becoming an NBA player. Beyond that, Spartan fans will long remember him for his kind heart, as his friendship and genuine connection with Lacey Holsworth touched the nation.
Izzo said that after graduating, Payne regularly returned to school and developed relationships with players from all eras.
“I heard a lot of these players today, each experiencing grief and each with their own memory of Adreian,” Izzo said.
Payne played in 107 NBA games, averaging four points and three rebounds, over four seasons with Atlanta, Minnesota and Orlando. The Hawks drafted him No. 15 overall in 2014, traded him to the Timberwolves, and he averaged 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds as a potentially promising rookie.
The Magic waived the 6-foot-10 forward in January 2018, after he was part of an ESPN report detailing sexual assault allegations against former high school basketball and football players.
Payne played professionally earlier this year for Juventus in Lithuania. He has also performed in Turkey, France, Greece and China.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Payne started in 94 of 138 games over four seasons for Izzo and averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds as a senior during the 2013-14 season.
Former college teammate Brandon Wood said he has stayed in touch with Payne, speaking to him as recently as last month about his plans to launch a non-fungible token.
“He was looking to start a Spartans-related NFT,” Wood said in a phone interview. “I will never forget the good times I had with him and Draymond (Green) when we were roommates. he cared about people.”
Michigan State great Magic Johnson remembered Payne with a post on social media. “Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and the Spartan Nation! Adreian will be greatly missed,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Cookie and I are heartbroken to learn that former Spartan Adreian Payne has passed away. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and Spartan Nation! Adreian will be greatly missed. 🙏🏾💔
—Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 9, 2022
While in Michigan, Payne befriended an 8-year-old with cancer Lacey Holsworth and spoke at his memorial ceremony in April 2014.
“I had times when I was mad at AP because they didn’t do something right,” Izzo said in a 2014 interview with the Big Ten Network. “I was happy with him, I was proud of him, I was disappointed. Everything that happens in training. But until the day I die, I will never forget those few scenes that I had the privilege of being part of it thanks to him.”
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