Payne Signs With Arkansas

Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College small forward Daniel Payne (6-7, 210) made it six early signees for the University of Arkansas when he signed with the Razorbacks late Wednesday night.

Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College small forward Daniel Payne hit another buzzer-beater on Wednesday night.

Right before the week-long November early signing ended on Wednesday night, Payne (6-7, 210) signed with the University of Arkansas.

Payne, who averaged 15.3 points per game last season and is The Sporting News preseason Junior College Player of the Year, chose the Razorbacks over Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Wichita State and Illinois among others.

"Everything about Arkansas was just so right for me that there was no use in waiting until the spring," Payne said. "I like their style of play and (Arkansas head) Coach (John Pelphrey) Pelphrey and (UA assistant) Coach (Isaac) Brown are cool."

Payne, originally from South Bend, Ind., and Verdigris (OK) guard Rotnei Clarke (6-1, 180) both signed on Wednedsay to join a class that already included point guard Courtney Fortson (5-11, 175) of The Patterson (N.C.) School, the Genesis One duo of forward Andre Clarke (6-10, 205) and guard Terrance Joyner (6-2, 180) and New Orleans (La.) Holy Corss forward Brandon Moore (6-9, 215).

"We've got a great class," Payne said. "We are going to be so good and Coach Pelphrey tells me he is counting a lot on me."

Payne had debated on waiting until the spring. Pelphrey is glad he didn't.

"Daniel is a very highly rated junior college player, arguably a top five player in the country depending on who you talk to," Pelphrey said. "He has a chance to play significant minutes from day one with the loss of Sonny (Weems).

"Daniel has unique abilities," Pelphrey added. "He is a talented offensive player as well as a very good defensive player. He is a high energy guy who is very serious about working hard and winning which helps him be a leader."

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