According to multiple sources, Michigan State Spartans big man Adreian Payne had been playing with mononucleosis since January — around the same time he suffered a foot injury that kept him out a handful games. This diagnosis of mononucleosis, that he’s still recovering from, should actually help his stock in June’s NBA draft.
Why do I believe this will do nothing but improve his stock?
If you’re an NBA scout, you loved what you saw from Payne in the last couple months of the season. However, if you think of what his numbers could have been if he wasn’t tired and lethargic all the time, he could have been even more scary — if that’s at all possible.
Payne had this to say to ESPN about the recent diagnosis:
“I was tired all the time. I would come into the locker room at halftime and be struggling to catch my breath. I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, but I just thought I had to. When I found out it was mono, everything made sense.”
It all does make sense, however. If you watched Payne play in the last couple of months since returning from the foot injury, you would realize that he looked very tired all the time. He always looked out of breath and his defense wasn’t nearly at the level that it should have been.
Getting up and down the court seemed like a struggle for the big man. He was a freak athlete so the good outweighed the bad, but you could tell he wasn’t himself.
Knowing that he could have been better than his spectacular self in the final 16 games of the season. In those 16 games in which he allegedly played mono, the super-athlete recorded 29.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. Not too shabby for a kid unknowingly fighting through mono.
Yes, Adreian Payne can be even better than he was at the end of the season. Scary.
Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.