No player has worked harder to earn a quality scholarship offer more than Central Arizona Junior College 6-foot-8, 210-pound freshman juco forward Meekness Payne. After changing high schools, playing a year in the prep school ranks, and then spending a year in the Arizona junior college conference (ACCAC), Payne has finally received a division-I offer for himself - a testiment to hard work and an excellent story.
Payne had a strong freshman season for himself while playing for Central Arizona Junior College and Head Coach Tramaine Aaron. In his freshman season, Payne averaged strong numbers - putting up 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per/contest. After one season and an NCAA academic qualifier, Payne decided to move on to a four-year college next fall, while possessing (3) years of academic eligibility.
After deciding not to return to CAC and looking for an opportunity to achieve his dream of playing division-I basketball, Payne received his first division-I offer to date from the University of New Hampshire.
Payne likely will sign a national letter of intent with the college program in the coming days, as the late signing period, which began April 17th, will end on May 15th.
It has been a long road for Payne, who received serious interest from numerous division-I programs, but could not reel in the elusive division-I offer, as such schools as Duquesne, North Carolina A&T, Montana State and Saint Francis all showed interest in him as a senior prospect at AZ Compass Prep, but never came to the realization that Payne could help their programs. After a year in the junior college ranks and putting up very good first-year numbers, a program has finally shown their commitment to Payne, rather than the other way around.
Payne began his high school career at Mountain Pointe High School, before changing schools and attending Hillcrest Prep. After a year at Hillcrest, Payne played his senior season for AZ Compass Prep in the program's first year of building their regional basketball program at the school. Payne had a strong senior season for Compass Prep and he developed a great deal under the leadership of former Head Coach Ray Weathers and his staff.
After his senior season at AZ Compass Prep, Payne would turn in a very strong performance during the 2018 NCAA spring evaluation period. While playing for Alvin Gentry Elite, Payne ranked among the top overall performers in several events that he participated in.
Congratulations to Meekness and the amazing Payne family on this tremendous accomplishment, and also good luck and blessing on his future from our staff here at Arizona Preps.
Arizona Hoop Review Scouting Report: Payne is a versatile forward prospect that is able to play much bigger than his size suggests. His athletic frame allows him to play as stretch-4 man, and also defend all three frontcourt positions on the floor. He is a winner, and does the intangibles for his team to be successful. He rebounds outside of his area, as a result of his extreme activity on the floor. He has developed into a combo-forward prospect, and can help a team with his versatility on both ends of the floor. He is a very good shooter with range, and is an effective three-point shooter. Payne's best aspect of his game though is that he is an excellent defender that accepts challenges on the defensive end of the floor. He can guard each of the frontcourt positions on the court, and does not mind defending bigger post players either. A winner.