Can you contain Fredericko Payne?
January 31, 2006
Shreveport, LA---On a night that saw the LSUS Pilots lose a heartbreaking double-overtime decision to Gulf Coast Athletic Conference foe Spring Hill College, Pilots leading scorer Fredericko Payne became the first player in the schools history to eclipse the 2000 point barrier. Payne’s 22 point performance etched his name in the LSUS record books as the first Pilot to eclipse the 2000 point mark. In just 89 games wearing the Gold and Blue, Payne has collected a 22.6 points per game scoring average, and currently sits at 2035 total career points.
The NAIA’s 6th leading scorer is averaging a team high 21.4 points per contest for the No. 8 ranked Pilots who are currently the No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the nation. His ability to finish from any where on the floor has him ranked No. 2 in the NAIA in made three-point field goals at 3.8 per contest, and is currently ranked 5th in free-throw percentage at 88.1% (78-of-91).
Payne made an immediate impact after transferring from Northwestern State University. As a sophomore, Payne was awarded the 2002-2003 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year award and selected First-Team ALL-GCAC after leading the conference in scoring averaging 21.6ppg. He led the Pilots to a 21-12 record in the programs first year of competition since 1996. Payne led GCAC in three-point field goals made with 111 and finished second in free-throw percentage making 91-117 (77.8%) attempts.
In 2005, Payne picked up where he left off the 2004 season as he led the Pilots to a win over the #3 ranked Oklahoma Baptist Bison by pouring in a game high 21 points. Just four games later Payne had a career high 44 point night which led the Pilots to a double-overtime victory versus ETBU which put the Pilots at 5-0 to begin what was soon to be their best season in school history. On July 6th, 2005, Payne scorched the Belhaven College Blazers for 40 points in the Pilots 79-67 victory which included an LSUS record 12 three-pointers in a single game. In the 2005 regular season finale, Payne poured in 29 points against the William Carey Crusaders which the Pilots won 83-57 to clinch the GCAC regular season championship, and an automatic birth to their first NAIA National Tournament.
At the 2005 NAIA Buffalo Funds National Tournament, the nations leading scorer was held to just 25 total points in two games on the NAIA’s biggest stage and found his Pilots falling to the eventual 2005 National Champion John Brown University, 61-55.
However, in 2006, Payne is surrounded by a strong supporting cast which has five starters averaging double-digit points which includes shooting guard Josh Porter who is currently 7th in the NAIA averaging 20.7 points per game.
“Playing on a team with such great guys makes you realize that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Our post presence has been a huge addition this year. Jeremy, Shadrach, and Anton give us another option when the shots just won’t go down,” comments Payne.
The 3rd year senior from Dubach, LA credits much of his success over the past three years to Coach McDowell who has let him become the player he is today.
“Coach lets you play the game. Since I have been here the green light has always been on. It helps to know that when you make a mistake or maybe force a tough shot that you do not need to look over your shoulder to see if you are going to be on the bench,” says Payne.
“With that being said, his patience and communication has taught me a lot about how to become a smarter and better all-around player.”
Payne and the LSUS Pilots are off to an 18-3 start overall, and are currently in a tough race for the top spot in the GCAC, one game behind the 6-1 Spring Hill College Badgers at 5-2 in conference play.
“We are off to a good start. We lost a couple tough conference games which has some people talking, but our goal was not to go undefeated this season. Our goal is to win the GCAC and take home the NAIA National Tournament crown,” concluded Payne.
As excellent of a career it has been for Payne at LSUS, it is not the point totals that are so impressive to Coach McDowell; rather it is how he has gone about achieving such impressive credentials.
“Scoring 2000 points in two and half seasons is impressive, but I have been more impressed with how he has had to score them. His ability to score a bunch of points in a hurry has continually led our team to victory,” said McDowell.
“There are many players who are capable of scoring a lot of points, but he has done it against teams who continue to focus on how they will contain Rico Payne. He scores against opponent’s best defenders while playing well on the defensive end for us as well,” concluded McDowell on Payne who has also recently eclipsed the LSUS career steals record.
Payne is scheduled to graduate in the fall of 2006 with a business degree and has hopes of continuing his basketball career at the professional level upon graduation.