Iowa Signs Illinois All-State Point Guard

April 15, 2009

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – – Cully Payne, a senior point guard at Schaumberg, IL HS, has signed a national letter of intent to join the University of Iowa basketball program. Iowa men’s Basketball Coach Todd Lickliter made the announcement Wednesday.

“Cully is a true point guard, although he can play the two position as well,” said Lickliter. “He is a very effective point guard and shoots the ball well. He’s a very competitive player who plays the game at a great pace. He’s an excellent addition to our program.”

Payne (6-1, 180) played in just 16 games as a senior due to injury. Despite missing the final 13 games of his senior season, Payne was a unanimous selection to the Mid-Suburban all-Conference team and was named West Division Player of the Year for the second straight year. The Daily Herald and Pioneer Press newspapers named Payne to their all-Area teams in each of the past two seasons. He was named first team all-state by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as a senior after earning second team honors as a junior.

He averaged 21.6 points, 5.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals per contest as a senior, leading his team to 14 straight wins to begin the season before being injured. Payne shot 49% from the field, 38% from three-point range and 82% from the free throw line. He averaged 20.5 points and six assists in four conference games. His career-high is 39 points and he scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games.

As a junior Payne scored 16.8 points per outing while averaging 4.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He shot 46% from the field, 30% from three-point range and 81% from the free throw line. Payne had a career-best 10 assists in two games while leading Schaumberg to a 19-10 overall record.

Lickliter and the Iowa staff signed two prep players during the early signing period in November, guard Eric May (6-5, 220) of Dubuque, IA and forward/center Brennan Cougill (6-9, 260) of Sioux City, IA.

May earned first team all-state honors as a junior and senior. He led Wahlert HS to the Class 3-A state title as a junior, averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. This past season he averaged 24.3 points and 9.1 rebounds as Wahlert (18-7) earned a return trip to the state tournament before a loss in the quarter-finals.

Cougill led Bishop Heelan HS to the Class 3-A state title this past season while earning “Mr. Basketball” honors in the state. Cougill also earned first team all-state honors as a junior and senior, and, like May, was named captain of the state all-tournament team after leading his team to the title. Cougill averaged 17.8 points and 13.4 rebounds as a senior. He concluded his prep career with 1,602 points and 1,033 rebounds after leading his team to three consecutive appearances in the state tournament.

“Both Eric and Brennan are state champions,” said Lickliter. “Both have great qualities; they are talented individuals, they have the ability to lead and they both elevate the play of their teammates.

“Eric and Brennan are committed to future success,” concluded the Iowa coach. “Neither player is satisfied with where they are at this stage. Both will work hard to attain that success at the college level.”