Elfrid Payton to enter Ragin’ Cajuns Hall of Fame

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Elfrid Payton

Ragin’ Cajuns standout to become 30th honoree from Men’s Basketball

LAFAYETTE – Former Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball player Elfrid Payton will become the newest member of the Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame, in an announcement by the Board of Directors of the Ragin’ Cajuns Letterman Club.

Payton, a three-year letterwinner for Louisiana from 2012-14 and the lone representative in the 2020 Hall of Fame class, will become the 30th member from the Ragin’ Cajuns Basketball program honored. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Payton will be formally inducted in a private ceremony on Friday (Oct. 16).

Payton becomes the first Ragin’ Cajuns Men’s Basketball player to join the Hall of Fame since Dion Brown in 2017. The Gretna, La., native, John Ehret alum and 10th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft recently completed his sixth season in the NBA, playing for the New York Knicks after previously stops in Orlando, Phoenix and his hometown New Orleans Pelicans.

In his career in the NBA, that began with him being named to the 2015 NBA All-Rookie Team and finishing fourth overall in voting for Rookie of the Year, Payton has averaged 11.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game.

Payton averaged 14.3 points per game and finished his career as the Ragin’ Cajuns all-time leader in steals (197). The New Orleans native finished fifth in school history with 486 assists.

After his junior season in 2013-14, Payton was selected as Player of the Year by both the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches and Louisiana Sports Writers Association. He was honored as the 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the Lou Henson All-America Team. During the 2013-14 season, Payton earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Payton averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game during his junior season and helping Louisiana to a 23-12 record and its first berth to the NCAA Championships since 2005. Payton scored in double figures in 32 of 35 games played, including 14 games with 20 or more points and four 30-point performances. During the 2013-14 season, Payton attempted a school-record 302 free throws, breaking the previous mark of 273 set by Dean Church in 1964-65.

Payton led the Sun Belt Conference in steals for the second consecutive year, recording 80 and finishing with a school-record total to 197. He finished second on the team in rebounds (6.0) and was part of a defensive unit that led the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding margin and was second in steals.

He was one of 10 Division I players during the 2013-14 season to record a triple-double when he scored 34 points, with 11 rebounds and 11 assists at ULM. Payton scored 31 points in games against Houston and Western Kentucky and 32 against Oakland while posting six double-doubles, including games at Louisiana Tech and then-defending national champion Louisville.

Payton spent time with USA Basketball during the Summer of 2013 as the starting point guard for Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Championship, helping the team to the gold medal. The John Ehret High product took part in a seven-game goodwill tour of China and the Far East with Reach USA, where he led the team in scoring in seven games.

During his career with the Ragin’ Cajuns, Payton finished 16th in school history in scoring (1,425 points) while grabbing 508 rebounds with 486 assists (fifth on the all-time list) and a school-record 197 steals. His 644 career free throw attempts were fourth in school history, trailing Bo Lamar (802, 1969-73), Tim Thompson (722, 1957-61) and Andrew Toney (690, 1976-80) – one of three players in school history to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

The University’s Hall of Fame recognizes men and women who distinguished themselves as student-athletes and have made significant contributions to their professions and their communities. They are nominated and selected through a process that is overseen by the board of directors of the Ragin’ Cajuns Lettermen Club, an organization of former student-athletes who have lettered in their sport.

In 2015, new eligibility criteria for the Hall of Fame were adopted to allow the nomination of coaches and administrators, as well as alumni whose collegiate careers were shortened by the chance to pursue professional sports.

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