Adreian Payne

Tom Izzo didn’t like the scuffle, but did it help Adreian Payne?

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Wednesday afternoon, news broke that two Michigan State players got into a physical altercation at the Nittany Lion Inn on the Penn State campus.

Neither Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne started that night due to their actions, but Payne did play a big role in Michigan State’s 81-72 win over Penn State.

Payne watched from the bench until the 16:37 mark of the second half. When the 6-foot-10 junior checked in, he dominated for a career-high 20 points, adding seven boards. Payne was aggressive on the offensive end, taking 10 free throw attempts (making seven of them), which is more free throw attempts than his previous three games combined.

Tom Izzo said he isn’t a fan of having his players get in to a scuffle, but he did acknowledge it may have provided a spark for his junior forward, according to Mike Griffith of

“Everybody grows up at a different point; sometimes controversy brings it out, and you gotta say, `I’m changing, or I’m not changing,’ ” said Izzo on Thursday. “For (Payne) it was a day he had to realize this is ridiculous. You can’t do dumb things and you have to listen to what other people say to you, comprehend it, and go to work.

“He stayed focused, you notice he didn’t get as tired, and he’d never played 17 out of 20 minutes in a half in his whole life.”

Could a fight with a roommate turn into a positive for Payne and the Spartans?

It’s a scary thought. The Big Ten is going to be a grind this season. There’s no doubt about that. Izzo and the Spartans are going to need to rely on guys like Payne and if he can provide this sort of production on a consistent basis, Michigan State will be right back in the mix atop the Big Ten.

If this could be the emergence of Payne, it’s coming at the right time. The Spartans’ next five games feature games against Ohio State (Saturday), road games against a hot Wisconsin team (Jan. 22) and No. 2 Indiana (Jan. 27), wrapping up with home games against No. 23 Illinois and No. 9 Minnesota.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.