Payne likes Pacers challenge | Northern

Tara Murray

At the end of last year, American Meekness Payne had only heard of one basketball team in Australia, the Australian Boomers.

Having just finished college, playing abroad was on his radar when his manager told him about a club in Australia that wanted him.

After a few conversations he agreed to join the Whittlesea Pacers for the Big V men’s division 1 season.

“I graduated from college last May and I knew I was going to end up playing overseas. I didn’t know where I was going to end up,” he said.

“My agent put me in touch with (Pacers coach) Des (Radoslovic).

“He called us and we talked and I liked his coaching philosophy and that got the ball rolling.”

Payne had previously visited Australia when he was in Grade 6, but had never been to Melbourne.

He said he’s enjoying his time with the Pacers so far.

“The club treated me well,” he said. “Everyone was hospitable.

“It’s been good. Last season they were at the top of the ladder, in div 2. They already had the pieces, Des, when we were on the phone, he said they needed one more piece, namely me, to really make an impact.

“Everything falls into place.”

Payne said playing in the Big V was a little different than playing in college. He said it was a pretty good standard.

“It’s a good level to hone your skills and work on your game,” he said.

“I used a lot of the games to work on things that I couldn’t do in college, because in college you have to play by the coaches’ system a lot here, so you can do things more freely. ”

Payne said he was happy with the way he played. He averaged nearly 26 points per game, third in the division.

He said they had great chemistry as a team, which reflected in the results.

In addition to playing, Payne has been involved with the Pacers junior programs.

“I help run Aussie Hoops, school clinics at certain schools in the northern suburbs,” he said.

“I also help with the housework and development, the children who do housework and work on reputation, help them develop on Fridays.

‘I started to deal with that at home. Since I’ve been here, I’ve taken it to the next level and I feel like it’s one of my gifts.”

With a top two finish midway through the season, Payne said they had big goals this year.

“I think we can win this year,” he said.

“We have to take care of business in the last five games. We want to finish the season strong and be ready for the play-off.”