Payton ranked among state’s best

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

College basketball fans that follow recruiting are learning what Georgiana fans have known for a while now.

Jacquez Payton is among the top players in the state of Alabama.

Bama Mixtape, a recruiting service for Alabama high school and junior college basketball players, has ranked Payton as the 15th best player in the class of 2016.

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In a tweet posted on Aug. 18, the service called Payton “a super athletic scorer.”

“It feels good to be recognized, especially coming from a (Class) 1A school,” the Georgiana sophomore said. “A lot of times people think 1A players aren’t any good. I’m just blessed to be recognized, and my hard work is paying off.”

Georgiana head coach Kirk Norris said it was a great accomplishment for Payton to  be recognized among the state’s best players.

He also said he feels Payton can continue to climb in the rankings.

“His athleticism and knack for making plays (are the strengths of his game),” Norris said. “Like all young players, he has aspects of his game that he needs to improve but I believe he will improve in these areas and make them strengths. I think he will (continue to climb in the rankings) if he continues to work hard and improve his overall game. Our team success will also provide the opportunity for more recognition not only for him, but for all of our players.”

Payton, who started at point guard for the Panthers as a freshman, also plays for the Pensacola Elite, which competes in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).

He hopes that the exposure from playing for the Pensacola Elite and the recruiting service will help him earn a college scholarship.

“I’d like to play at Troy or Auburn,” he said. “I’m hoping to get an offer from them.”

But first, the 6-foot, 165-pound guard, who averaged 15.2 points per game and 4.6 assists per game last season, has some unfinished business at Georgiana.

“My goal is to get a state championship,” Payton said.