May 6, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The South Seven Conference Most Valuable Player and Southern Illinoisan Player of the Year in boys’ basketball has agreed to bring his game to John A. Logan College this fall.

Devontavius Payne, a multi-talented 6-foot-3 senior guard at Carbondale High School, averaged 17.4 points, four rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals per game this past season. He was a key cog in the Terriers posting 23 wins and claiming the league championship.

Payne, whose athleticism allows him to take the ball to the rim or shoot from beyond the three-point arc, said he is excited about his decision to pick Logan.

“I think it’s a good fit for me,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to meet the players and practice with them a little. It went pretty smooth. We all seemed to get along well.”

Payne was a three-year starter for Coach Jim Miller’s Terriers. He was twice selected All-Conference and All-South. He was also named Third Team All-State in Class 3A as a senior by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and Honorable Mention All-State by the Associated Press.

Payne said he has been looking forward to playing college basketball for the last several years.

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “From a personal standpoint, I want to develop my game at Logan these next two years. And from a team standpoint, I want to do what I can to help us win a national championship.”

Payne said that while he thinks he shoots well enough to play one of the guard positions right away, he still needs to improve his ballhandling and defensive skills to become a more complete player.

Vols head coach Kyle Smithpeters said he was excited to sign the Carbondale product.

“Devontavius is a good kid both on and off the floor, and that’s important to us,” he said. “I think he will represent Southern Illinois to the highest standard. He plays hard. He’s athletic. He shoots the ball well and you can always find room on the floor for someone of his talent. And he’s only going to get bigger, stronger and quicker.”

Smithpeters said Payne wasn’t intimidated when scrimmaging with his future teammates.

“He more than proved himself. I think he will do just fine here at Logan.”

Miller said previously that Payne has made great strides as a ballplayer.

“Devon has grown up so much over the past few years,” he said. “It says a lot about him as far as how opposing coaches now perceive him. They voted him MVP of the conference, and the South Seven was an outstanding league this year.”

Payne joins a stacked field at the guard position at Logan, including returning lettermen Tre Green, A.J. Riley, Martavian Payne, and Bobbie Mannie, along with redshirt freshman Justin Lukens. Also returning to the fold are post players Russell Woods and Jordan Martin.

Some information for this article was gleaned from a previous article written by Scott Mees with The Southern Illinoisan.