LAFAYETTE – Former Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns standout Elfrid Payton was one of a handful of NBA hopefuls who were invited to attend the NBA Draft, which is scheduled for Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 2014 NBA Draft will be televised live on ESPN.
Payton, a Gretna native and former John Ehret High product, looks to become the third Ragin' Cajun to be selected in the first round and the first since Kevin Brooks, who was selected 18th overall by Denver in 1991. Former Ragin' Cajuns star Andrew Toney, a two-time NBA All-Star, was picked eighth overall by Philadelphia in the 1980 NBA Draft.
During his 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).
Payton averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game in helping the Ragin' Cajuns to a 23-12 record and their first berth to the NCAA Championships since 2005. Payton scored in double figures in 32 of 35 games played, including 14 games with 20 or more points and four 30-point performances. On the season, Payton attempted a school-record 302 free throws, breaking the previous mark of 273 set by Dean Church in 1964-65.
He was honored earlier this year as the 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the Lou Henson All-America Team. Payton earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors, where he was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year, and the named the 2014 College Basketball Player of the Year by both the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) and the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches (LABC).
Payton led the Sun Belt Conference in steals for the second consecutive year, recording 80 and finishing with a school-record total to 197. He finished second on the team in rebounds (6.0) and was part of a defensive unit that led the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding margin and was second in steals.
He was one of 10 Division I players during the season to record a triple-double when he scored 34 points, with 11 rebounds and 11 assists at ULM. Payton scored 31 points in games against Houston and Western Kentucky and 32 against Oakland while posting six double-doubles, including games at Louisiana Tech and defending national champion Louisville.
Payton spent last summer as the starting point guard for Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Championship, helping the team to the gold medal. Payton took part in a seven-game goodwill tour of China and the Far East with Reach USA, where he led the team in scoring in seven games.