April 15, 2011
CHICAGO - Cully Payne (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg/Iowa), who was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team by Sporting News in 2009-10, is transferring from the University of Iowa to play for first-year Loyola University Chicago head men's basketball coach Porter Moser it was announced today. Payne becomes the first Moser recruit to join the Rambler program and will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2011-12 season.
"I'm extremely excited about Cully wanting to be a part of something special here at Loyola," Moser said. "His toughness, basketball IQ, experience at the point guard position and his character as a student-athlete are what we are looking for in this program. From day one, we made it a priority to recruit Chicago and the state of Illinois and the addition of Cully to our program is a tremendous first step toward making Loyola a viable option for area talent."
In 2010-11 at Iowa, Payne was a team co-captain and appeared in and started the first five games before suffering a season-ending sports hernia injury. He equaled a personal high with seven assists and added seven points in a win over Louisiana-Monroe.
Payne made a name for himself as a freshman with the Hawkeyes, starting all 32 games at the point guard position, while averaging 8.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and a team-best 3.8 assists. The 6-foot-1 point guard scored in double figures on 11 occasions and was the only starting freshman point guard in the Big Ten Conference in 2009-10.
A clutch player, Payne was at his best in some of the biggest games as a freshman at Iowa, going for a career-high 25 points, on 9 of 16 shooting from the field, including 5 of 10 from three-point range versus Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament. That same season, he also recorded team highs of 11 points and six assists at then No. 6 Purdue.
"I'm excited and honored to be Coach Moser's first recruit to Loyola and that means a lot to me personally," Payne said. "After spending time with him and the staff and getting a chance to see Loyola and all it has to offer, I knew this was the perfect place for me. I hope that my decision to come to Loyola can help attract other high-level players to play and go to school here."
One of the most highly sought after players out of Schaumburg High School, Payne was a first team all-state and first team all-conference selection as a senior. He averaged 21.6 ppg, 5.4 apg, 3.1 rpg and 2.2 spg in 16 games a senior at Schaumburg before missing the final 13 games due to injury.
Loyola returns two starters from last year's team that won 16 contests.