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Adreian Payne NBA Stock: Michigan State Star Showing Potential In 2013 NCAA Tournament

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Adreian Payne of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates in the second half against the Memphis Tigers during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 23, 2013 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) | Getty Images

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State's Adreian Payne has shown more flashes of his vast potential to boost his stock as an NBA prospect.

At least two teams in the league had top executives witness Payne's latest performance. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward had 14 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high five blocks to help the Spartans beat Memphis to reach the round of 16.

Payne may be a pivotal player when third-seeded Michigan State faces second-seeded Duke on Friday night in Indianapolis.

His improved play has been impressive and yet it pales in comparison to his off-the-court story.

Payne has befriended a 7-year-old girl during her bout with cancer. And, he's a scholar-athlete honoree after being diagnosed as cognitively disabled while growing up in Jefferson Township, Ohio.

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