The 6-7, 205-pound senior at Winton Woods High School is expected to be a rare four-year starter at his school. Last season he averaged 16 points and seven rebounds per game and attracted a good bit of attention from college scouts.
"This will be my second official visit and it will probably the last one I take," Payne tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I have visited Virginia Commonwealth and I?really liked it a lot. I have a relationship with the coaching staff there. It is a smaller school and I think it would be an easier place for me to adjust to than some of the colleges who have been recruiting me."
This weekend's visit to Auburn will be his second trip to the SEC school in recent weeks. "I took an unofficial visit the weekend the football team played West Virginia and I really like the campus and the whole atmosphere," he says. "The fans are really into it there and I like the idea of playing in the SEC."
Payne also notes that he likes Auburn's coaching staff. He says that he is being primarily recruited by assistant Bryan Bartley and head coach Jeff Lebo and likes both of the coaches. "Coach Lebo is a coach who was a great player in college who also played in the pros. I think he is the type of coach who could help me develop my game and help me become someone who could continue to play after college."
Payne, who notes that he has a 3.0 grade point average, says that his long-range goal is to become a basketball coach.
He points out that Auburn is recruiting him as a small forward, which he notes is his best position although he also plays power forward for his high school team. "We start practice in three weeks and I have been working out with my teammates," he says. "I am looking to add size and strength and am making progress. I am up to 205 pounds now."
The high school senior says he is looking forward to touring Auburn's new basketball facility, which is under construction and scheduled to be finished in July. "I just saw it from the outside on my unofficial visit," he says. The arena complex will include state of the art features for games and practices plus it will have dorm rooms and restaurants next door to the facility.
As he prepares to travel to Auburn, Payne says he is getting close to making a decision on his college choice. "I believe it is going to come down to Auburn over VCU," he says.