EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan State University’s men’s basketball program is remembering Adreian Payne, a former MSU basketball player who was shot and killed Monday morning.

“I’m in shock at the tragic news of Adreian Payne’s death. Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones. Adreian was loved by his teammates and coaches, who respected his development as a player and a person. He came to Michigan State with a ton of raw talent and put in the work to reach his goal of becoming an NBA player. Beyond that, he will long be remembered by Spartan fans for his kind heart, as his friendship and genuine bond with Lacey Holsworth touched the nation. Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family. Following graduation, Adreian regularly returned to East Lansing. In doing so, he developed and strengthened relationships with players from all eras. I’ve heard from many of those players today, each one experiencing heartbreak, and each one with their own fond memory of Adreian.”

Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo

Payne, a 2014 NBA First Round pick of the Atlanta Hawks, left MSU in 2014 as one of nine players in program history with 1,200 career points (1,232) and 700 career rebounds (735), while also ranking as the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots (141) at the time.

He was selected to the Big Ten All-Tournament and the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament teams as the Spartans received the 2014 Big Ten Tournament title and went forward to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Payne was also the recipient of the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s first-ever Outreach Award in 2014 as part of the Wooden Award Gala.

The player’s unique friendship with eight-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth was highlighted as the main reason for his award.

Their friendship started after Holsworth fell in love with his dunking ability, a bond that eventually moved off the court.

Payne would frequently pay visits to Holsworth and after she passed away from cancer in 2014, he helped keep her name alive through the Princess Lacey Legacy.