Blue Devil Alumni
Let there be no doubt as to the importance of Michael Payne to the Quincy High Blue Devil basketball program. During his days wearing the Blue and White, the Devils won 91 games, lost 4 and captured the Illinois Boys Class AA title in 1981. Payne saw significant time as a sophomore, averaging 6.1 points per game. He grew to a height of 6’11” during the off season which helped solidify a spot for Michael in the Devils starting line-up in the years that followed. As a junior, Payne averaged 14.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game for a team that posted a record of 26-3. That effort earned him recognition as the Devil’s Most Valuable Player. He was also chosen as the Quincy Herald Whig Player of the Year. In his senior season, with Payne at the point of the Quincy press and flanked by Bruce and Dennis Douglas, the Devils rolled to 33 straight wins and a State Title; the programs first since 1934. For Payne, who averaged 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, the honors were numerous. He was selected as an All-American by both Street & Smith and Parade Magazines and would later represent Quincy in the prestigious McDonald’s All-Star game. Payne’s name was on every All-State team in Illinois. He was Co-MVP of the Quincy Thanksgiving Holiday Tournament and was again named as the Quincy Herald Whig Player of the Year. After high school, Michael followed in his father’s footsteps, choosing to further his education at the University of Iowa. He starred there all four years under Head Coaches, Lute Olson, and later, George Raveling. Payne was drafted right out of college by the NBA’s Houston Rockets, but a plethora of big men (Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson and others) in the Houston camp forced Michael to take his talents overseas. He played professionally in France, Italy and Australia for almost a decade before his career was cut short by a series of re-occurring knee injuries in the late 1980’s. Courtesy of Blue Devil Hall of Fame.