Elfrid Payton, who earned a gold medal this summer at the FIBA U19 World Championships and was the only collegiate player to average 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game last year, has been named to the 2013 Lou Henson Preseason All-America team.
The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the top Mid-Major basketball player in the country by CollegeInsider.com and is named in honor of the veteran coach who won 779 games in 41 seasons, coaching primarily at Illinois and New Mexico State.
"Elfrid really opened some eyes over the summer around the basketball world and people finally understand what a truly sensational player that he is," Louisiana head coach Bob Marlin said. "He has learned a lot from his experiences this summer and I look forward to an outstanding year from him."
Payton, a 6-2, 180-pound junior point guard from Gretna, La., had a breakout year for the Cajuns in 2012-13, averaging a team-best 15.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He finished the year leading the Sun Belt Conference in both steals and assists, ranking 12th nationally in steals and 38th in assists. He was also fourth in the league in scoring and 18th in rebounds.
A starter in all 33 games, Payton ranks third in school history with 80 steals last year while his 181 assists were fourth-best. With two full seasons to play, he already ranks 18th all-time with 117 steals and 278 assists.
Payton had a whirlwind summer, averaging 21.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.0 steals as part of a cultural exchange tour of China and the Far East with Reach USA, a sports ministry based out of Kentucky that has been sponsoring tours since 1986.
After returning home, Payton was the final player invited to tryout for the USA BAsketball U19 squad and not only made the team, but he grabbed a starting assignment.
Payton went on to average 6.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game, shooting .575 from the field (23-40) and .900 from the line (9-10) as Team USA went 9-0 and claimed the Gold Medal.
Payton concluded his summer by averaging 13.0 points and 5.6 rebounds to lead Louisiana to a 4-0 record during an August tour of Spain.
Preseason practice has already begun for the Cajuns, who will open the 2013-14 season at home against Louisiana College on Saturday, Nov. 9. Season tickets are available by contacting the Cajundome ticket office at (337) 265-2357 or at RaginCajuns.com.