ULL's Payton picked in 1st Round of NBA Draft
Former Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball standout Elfrid Payton became the third player in school history to be chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft when he was selected on Thursday as the 10th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76er's.
Payton, a Gretna native and former John Ehret High product, was later traded to the Orlando Magic for Croatian forward Dario Saric, who was picked at No. 12. Payton became the 20th player in school history to be selected in the NBA Draft and the third by the Sixers joining Hall of Famers Dean Church (10th round, 1965) - the first Ragin' Cajuns draft selection - and two-time NBA All-Star Andrew Toney (8th overall pick, Philadelphia, 1980).
"I think the game has kind of changed in putting just the best players on the floor," Payton said. "I feel like I can play multiple positions. I'm looking forward to it."
Payton joined Toney and Kevin Brooks (18th, Denver, 1991) as first-round selections in Ragin' Cajuns history and was the first Sun Belt Conference Player picked since Western Kentucky's Courtney Lee (22nd, Orlando) in 2008.
"It's been fascinating to watch his climb," head coach Bob Marlin said. "Elfrid has met every challenge that has been presented to him in his basketball career. He won a gold medal last year with Team USA and led us to the NCAA Championships. To watch him grow by leaps and bounds has been phenomenal to watch."
During a spectacular three-year career with the Ragin' Cajuns, Payton finished 16th in school history in scoring (1,425 points) while grabbing 508 rebounds with 486 assists (fifth on the all-time list) and a school-record 197 steals. His 644 career free throw attempts were fourth in school history, trailing Bo Lamar (802, 1969-73), Tim Thompson (722, 1957-61) and Toney (690, 1976-80).