Cully Payne Talks About Becoming a Hawk

Cully Payne welcomed Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter into his Schaumburg home on Wednesday. The 2009 point guard then delivered some good news to the Hawkeye head man. Read what Payne had to say about the visit and his commitment to the Hawkeyes in this interview transcript.

Q: Tell me how things went today during Coach Lickliter's visit?

Cully Payne: It was a great day, actually. Coach (Todd) Lickliter and Coach (Chad) Walthall, they both came to my high school at about 3:30 or so and met my coach. And then they came over my house about 5 o'clock, 5:30 and visited my house and all of that. My mom asked questions. My mom wasn't there when me and my dad went on my official, so she asked questions. My family loved Iowa. My girlfriend was there and her sister actually graduated from Iowa last May. From what coach was telling me, I think he's a great guy, a great coach. They have a great coaching staff. I'm just excited to play for them and hope to help the program. Everyone I know that goes to Iowa or went to Iowa. It's such a great school from what everyone tells me. I'm excited.

Q: How did you tell Coach Lickliter that you were committing?

CP: I kind of told him, I was just like "Coach, I'd love to play for you and your program." I thought it was a good opportunity for me.

Q: How do you feel you fit in?

CP: I think I fit in more as like the role of like a true point guard for them. I know they just had a bunch of people leave and I think that gives me a good opportunity to make an impact right away. I definitely feel like it's a great program for me to fit into. When I was on my visit, I kind of hung out with, I don't know what his name was, Matt (Gatens)? He was Mr. Iowa. He's a great guy. Those kind of guys that Coach Lickliter recruits are my kind of guys to hang out with and be part of a team program.

Q: Did you have anybody else come after you in the last week since we last spoke?

CP: I had a couple. Hawaii was real interested. Arkansas, there were a bunch of schools that were real interested. To be honest, my true interest was Iowa from the start.

Q: How is your health? How is your back?

CP: Actually, my back is good. I've been doing therapy and I just got my clearance to start back playing about a week ago. I've been in the gym working out and I feel 100 percent.

Q: When do you think you'll come out to Iowa?

CP: I'll probably take a visit out there soon. My mom wants to come check out the campus and I'll probably take my girlfriend out there and show her around. It will probably be soon.

Q: They have a summer league out here. Have you heard about that and will you play in that?

CP: Yeah, is it called the Prime Time or something like that?


CP: Yeah, Coach Lickliter was kind of telling me about that, Everything on Iowa is just great, publicity wise, and how newspapers cover it. There are no pro teams. I think it's just a great atmosphere to play college basketball in.

Q: Did you grow up a fan of the Big Ten?

CP: I did. My best friend, his grandfather was a football coach at Purdue. We were always at Purdue games. So, yeah, I'm a big time, Big Ten fan.

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