April 16, 2009

Basketball Announces Signing of League MVP Troy Payne

April 16, 2009

Santa Clara Head Basketball Coach Kerry Keating announced Troy Payne (Los Angeles, Calif.) has signed with the Bronco basketball team during the Spring signing period. Payne is a 6'6, 215lb. forward from Los Angeles, Calif., who has been at Citrus College the past two years after graduating from Dorsey High School.

The 2009 Santa Clara class also includes wing Ray Cowels (Hopkins HS, Minnetonka, Minn.); forward/center Chris Cunningham (Diamond Ranch HS, Pomona, Calif.); forward Niyi Harrison (Bellarmine College Prep, Miliptas, Calif.) and point guard Robert Smith (Perris HS, Perris, Calif.).

"We are excited about adding Troy to our family. He is coming to our program with a tremendous amount of success under his belt after going 66-5 under head coach Rick Croy at Citrus College," said Keating. "Troy has helped his team be successful by doing what he does well: defending and rebounding, but also brings valuable intangibles such as being a great teammate, a dedicated student, extremely hard worker in all facets of becoming a better player and person every day. He cares about his teammates and competes to the utmost each and every time he steps on the floor and that will be something our young team will definitely need next season."

"Coach Ware did a good job of making me feel comfortable and I liked the idea that Santa Clara will play a majority of their games in California next season. When I came on my visit Coach Keating and his staff made me feel like I was a part of their family, just like my team here," said Payne. "It's a good place for me and I like the family atmosphere. I am really excited to get up there."

Citrus College won the state title Payne's freshman year and lost in the Sweet 16 this season. Payne averaged 10 ppg and 10.2 rpg this season and was named the MVP of the league in addition to collecting first-team all-state community college honors. Citrus College plays in the Western State Conference South Division. His team won back-to-back conference titles for the first time in school history. This season he was also named a `Scholar Baller' after he posted a 3.0+ grade point average.

As a freshman at Citrus College Payne averaged 6.9 ppg and a team-high 6.6 rpg, shooting 53.6% from the floor. In addition, he was second on the team with 53 steals. He also earned All-WSC Honorable Mention Honors.

Citrus College head coach Rick Croy said Payne is an absolute warrior and if there is a lose ball, Payne would get it.

"He's a competitor - a real warrior. He's consumed with winning and he's willing to do whatever it takes," said Croy. "On top of that, he's a great student. He's one of the most unselfish kids I have ever coached. He is the type of player that will be able to guard the other team's best player every night.

"Off the court he's so unselfish as well and is all about helping his friends," continued Croy. "He's a joy to be around because he's so positive. He's amazing, very tough. The fans are going to love him!"

He graduated Dorsey High School and was coached by Kevin Gibson, lettering three years. His senior year he averaged 16.7 ppg and 8.9 rpg. He also played one year of varsity tennis at Dorsey.