Q&A Transcript: Cully Payne Likes Iowa

Chicago-Area point guard Cully Payne recently was released from his letter of intent with Alabama. With his recruitment back open, he scheduled a visit to Iowa on Wednesday. Read what Payne said about the Hawkeyes in this HN.com interview transcript.

Q: What has the recruitment been like since you received your release from Alabama?

Cully Payne: It's been alright. It's been a little crazy. I've gotten a lot of phone calls from many different people and different schools. And actually, I'm not handling most of my stuff. My AAU Coach (Mike Weinstein, Rising Stars) he's been handling most of my stuff since eighth grade, since the DePaul thing came about. He tells me what's up and I kind of tell him what I'm looking at. The last three days have been a little crazy, but not too bad.

Q: What are you looking for?

CP: I'm looking for a place that's kind of a right fit for me and the way that I play and the way that the school plays. I'm looking for a good coach, and a good college atmosphere, like Alabama was. You don't get much better than the Southern, Alabama, atmosphere, which was great. When I took my official there, the people were great and it was just a great place for me. But Coach (Mark) Gottfried retired.

Q: You talk about your game fitting in somewhere. What type of system would your game fit into?

CP: I've played in many different styles from real controlling to up and down. To be honest, it doesn't really matter what style it is. The players kind of make a difference on how I play.

Q: What are strengths of your game and what are some areas that need improvement?

CP: I'd first start off that my strength is I'm a real, true point guard. I really model my stuff off of Steve Nash. How he gets in the lane real well and creates. I think I'm OK at that. I am really able to get by that guy and score if nothing is there. I think I can really help a team that needs a true point guard to run the show and kind of be that coach on the floor. On the other hand, there are always things I'd like to improve. I just came off of a little injury, but I'm good to go now. I just need to get my physical strength and athletic ability to play at that high level.

Q: The jump from high school to college is a big one physically. How far along are you with physical development?

CP: I think I'm almost ready to make that jump. It's a big difference. Most high school kids don't know when they go to the college level with those kinds of bodies and athletes. I've had a great trainer that worked with the Bears and Texas players. He kind of knows that jump. I've been working out six days a week lifting and shooting trying to get ready for that next level.

Q: What are your dimensions? How tall are you and what's your wait at?

CP: I'm about 180, 175 and about 6-1.

Q: When you committed to Alabama, what other schools were you looking at?

CP: When I committed to Alabama, let's see. Iowa was definitely one of my big time schools. Right now, it's one of the schools I'm most interested in. Actually, I'm going out there to visit (Wednesday, April 1). So, I'm real interested in Iowa. Washington State was in the mix with me with Coach (Tony) Bennett. Now he's at Virginia, so that puts a little spin on things. Those were probably the main ones I was looking at.

Q: So, it was Alabama, Iowa and Washington State when you committed to the Tide. Who is in there now besides Iowa?

CP: I'm looking at Iowa. Hawaii has been recruiting me pretty hard. Washington State, I don't know what's going on over there. Maybe it's Virginia now if Coach Bennett goes there. And then there are like Loyola and Bradley and schools like that. Those are the main ones I'm looking at, and Arkansas.

Q: Do you have offers from all of those?

I have offers from…not total…I think I would but they haven't verbally said it and I don't know if I'm supposed to say who said it yet. There are offers out there.

Q: Do you think this thing will end tomorrow? Do you think if you come here (to Iowa) and like the visit and say this is you, you'll commit? You've already look at the school before.

CP: It definitely could turn out like that. Actually one of our rules as a team and the coach because I've been through so much that I'll go up there and visit tomorrow…I think I'm going to like the place. I like the coaches already, so I don't think that's going to be a problem. Yeah, I could see myself definitely playing there.

Q: Would you commit tomorrow or would you go back and talk with your family and coaches?

CP: To be honest, I don't really know what I would do right away. I'd probably do like I did with the others, like Alabama, go back and talk with my family. My dad is coming up there with me tomorrow. I'd probably come back and talk with my mom and just see what they all think. I already know they love Iowa. It would be a pretty easy decision if that went through.

Q: Is your AAU coach coming with your tomorrow, too, or is it just you and your dad?

CP: Yeah, he was supposed to. I've been giving him a hard time about it to come with. So, I think he might come with.

Q: What is it that you like about the Iowa coaches and the program here?

CP: From what I know so far, the coaches are great. They've got a great coaching staff. They're real caring people. Coach Weinstein, his fiancé, went to Iowa. I was with them last night and she said it's a beautiful campus and the people there are great and great academics. So, everything kind of sparks my interest.


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