Cameron Payne has already made a name for himself in Oklahoma City and in the NBA. His jump into the big scene all started when he led Lausanne Collegiate School to a state championship in Memphis, Tennessee. He was not highly recruited out of high school, but he chose to play at Murray State over a few other colleges.
He got the starting job at point guard as a freshman due to the injury of his teammate Zay Jackson. In his first game, he registered 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. He finished the season earning first team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as well as freshman of the year for the conference. During his sophomore season he averaged 20.2 points, 6 assists, and 3.7 rebounds. Those stats were enough to earn him the OVC Player of the Year award. After the season ended, Payne opted to enter the NBA draft.
Following a disappointing 2014-2015 season for the Thunder, they had the 14th overall pick in the draft. Oklahoma City’s general manager Sam Presti selected Cameron Payne with that pick.
During a workout before the draft he broke a finger on his non-shooting hand. After recovering from the injury, he made his NBA debut against the Denver Nuggets. Payne was sent down to the NBA Developmental League twice during the season, but ultimately he made a spot on the Thunder roster.
While he did not play a lot of minutes last season, he had several outstanding games. He scored 16 points against the Bucks in December of last year, and he recorded a career high 17 point and 7 assists in a Thunder win against the Spurs in April. Payne has shown tremendous potential through his performances last season.
He was primed to receive a giant increase in minutes this season. However, he has had trouble staying healthy. He had surgery to repair a Jones fracture on his right foot back in July. After a successful recovery, he was cleared to play in full contact. During the teams Blue and White scrimmage, he suffered an acute fracture to his fifth metatarsal on the same foot he had surgery on before the season.
It is unknown when Payne will get to return to action. We are hoping the team releases more information on the injury soon. If he can get healthy, and stay healthy, Payne will be a huge contributor to this team. There is a lot more to be excited about the young guard than just his pre-game dances with Russell Westbrook.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter.