Written by Morgan Dyrek '10
Bronco transfer Troy Payne has not only had to adapt to a new school, a new team and a new coaching style in the past few months, he has also been put in a leader position for this young Bronco team and it's been a year of transitions for Payne to say the least.
When asked about his own transition to Santa Clara, Payne said, "There isn't much of a difference besides the pace of the game. I play the same position and my coaches here have prepared me well for the opposition. It is different that we are all so young; but we are all putting tons of effort in and next year we will be great. I just keep trying to do all I can--all I know how to do is try and win."
He did express a lot of confidence in the lowerclassmen, "The younger players are learning and are getting it. We all know how to prepare for these games now and we all give everything we've got out on the court."
Payne has obviously adopted well to Santa Clara, every game this year, he is averaging 4.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.8 apg and 1.5 spg. He understands the rivalry of the Gonzaga game and cannot wait to play them on Thursday. Payne's excitement was professional, however, stating, "Gonzaga is very good. Very good. We feel good after coming off our first conference win at USF. We hope that gives us a lot of momentum. We are working hard this week and making sure there is more of a flow out on the court. By Thursday night we'll be ready for the game and we're really excited for it. We are working hard to make sure there will be no distractions or mess-ups."
Payne's professionalism and unwavering confidence in himself and his team was confirmed when questioned on Gonzaga's ranking (AP top 25 ranks the Bulldogs at No.13 and ESPN/USA Today takes them at No.8) stating, "It's all about heart. We've got the heart and we're going to play hard. We are going to attack them aggressively and play hard like we did at USF."
Student attendance to this big rivalry game is expected to be high. Payne expressed his appreciation for the students and fans from the Santa Clara community that have come out and supported this Bronco team, "It's hard to lose because we let our fans down. We need the support from the fans. Certainly their support gives us the momentum we need as we go into the second half of the season."
The excitement for this game is already seen around campus, especially with the kick-off of "Bronco Week." Payne and the rest of the Broncos are working hard to be well- prepared and hyped up to play the Bulldogs; and the students on campus are hoping and praying for an upset.