NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) – Former UL Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday night. However, Payton's ultimate destination was the Orlando Magic which traded for Payton's rights following the No. 12 selection in the first round of the draft.
Payton became the first former Sun Belt Conference player selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since 2008.
"Elfrid going into the draft was someone that we targeted," Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan said via a press conference at the Amway Center in Orlando. "We love his toughness, competitives and desire to want to play defense and want to compete at that end of the floor."
Payton, a Gretna native and former John Ehret High product, became the third Ragin' Cajun to be selected in the first round and the first since Kevin Brooks, who was selected 18th overall by Denver in 1991. Former Ragin' Cajuns star Andrew Toney, a two-time NBA All-Star, was picked eighth overall by Philadelphia in the 1980 NBA Draft.
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 with the Ragin' Cajuns. His 644 career free throw attempts were fourth in school history, trailing Bo Lamar (802, 1969-73), Tim Thompson (722, 1957-61) and Toney (690, 1976-80).
Payton averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game in helping the Ragin' Cajuns to a 23-12 record and their first berth to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship 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. On the season, Payton attempted a school-record 302 free throws, breaking the previous mark of 273 set by Dean Church in 1964-65.
He was honored earlier this year as the 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the Lou Henson All-America Team. Payton earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named the 2014 College Basketball Player of the Year by both the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) and the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches (LABC).
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 season to record a triple-double when he scored 34 points, with 11 rebounds and 11 assists at UL Monroe. 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 defending national champion Louisville.
Payton spent last summer as the starting point guard for Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Championship, helping the team to the gold medal. Payton 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.