CORVALLIS, Ore. – Point guard Gary Payton II followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a member of the Oregon State Beavers. Now entering his senior season, Payton II has quickly established himself as a star and a leader of the team.
Oregon State has only three winning seasons since their last tournament appearance in 1990 when Payton Sr. was a senior.
Payton II led the Beavers in almost every category a year ago as they posted a winning record (17-14) for the first time since 2011. He led the team with 13.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 36.3 minutes, 3.06 steals and 1.2 blocks. The 6-foot-3 190-pounder also ranked third in the country with 95 steals and finished second in assists to teammate Michael Duvivier with 3.16 per game.
Payton II should continue to be the Beavers leader in his final season. Oregon State finished 8-10 in Pac-12 play while winning seven conference games at home.
He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and CBS Sports has a lot of respect for him, as he ranked No. 38 in their preseason list titled: “Top 100 (and one) College Basketball Players for 2015-16.” “Me being a defensive player, that just stood out to me,” Payton told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “I just wanted to help him out with that and I chose to stay.”
Before arriving in Corvallis, Payton II spent his first two collegiate seasons at Salt Lake Community College. He then transferred to Oregon State in 2014 right when Craig Robinson was fired and Wayne Tinkle took over.
He became the second player in school history with a triple-double when he scored 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 against Grambling State last December. Guess who the other player was? His father Gary Payton Sr., who had 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists back in 1988 against the University of Portland.
Payton II is athletic as they come and considering Oregon State lost all five of their starters a season ago and had a new coach, it was impressive they were able to win 17 games. It was a stellar 2014 campaign for him just a season after he starred at the NJCAA level.
There was talk of Payton II and junior Malcolm Duvivier, the team’s top two leading scorers, bolting for the NBA. However, the two starting guards are back in search of a tournament appearance along with four other key seniors in guard Langston Morris-Walker, and forwards Olaf Schaftenaar, Daniel Gomis and Jarmal Reid.
Oregon State added six freshmen to its roster, which includes two 4-star recruits in shooting guard Stephen Thompson Jr. and the coach’s son, small forward Tres Tinkle.
Still, Payton II is the face of Beaver basketball. His move to the NCAA has been very smooth and right now his arrow is pointing up.
With another solid season in a loaded Pac-12, he should be well on his way to an NBA career.
His father was called ‘The Glove’ and even though Payton II doesn’t have a nickname just yet, he should be able to earn one if the Beavers are able to get back into the tourney.