The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team is expected to land at least one player during the NCAA's weeklong early signing period that begins today.
Martavian Payne, a 6-foot-2 senior combo guard at College Preparatory High School in St. Louis, recently gave the Redhawks a verbal commitment.
"He's going to sign [today]," College Preparatory coach Tony Irons said.
Payne averaged about 16 points per game as a junior last year for Imagine Prep in St. Louis, which has since closed. He averaged about 20 points as a sophomore.
Payne missed several weeks of last season with a knee injury but returned in time to help Imagine Prep earn its first state final four berth. The Bears beat Sikeston in the Class 4 quarterfinals.
"We had a better team around him last year so he didn't have to score as much," said Irons, the son of former legendary Vashon High School coach Floyd Irons. "I think SEMO is getting a very good player. He's been under the radar some, but I think he's one of the best players in the St. Louis area."
Tony Irons said Payne also had received interest from several mid-major programs, including Wichita State and Missouri State.
"He has a college body. He weighs about 180, 185 pounds. He's strong, athletic and has a great first step," Irons said. "He can shoot the ball well. He's got a lot of range with his shot. He's a hard worker. If he continues to progress, he can be a heck of a player. He has a good upside."
Southeast coach Dickey Nutt is prohibited by NCAA regulations from commenting on prospective recruits until they sign.
Southeast's women have received verbal commitments from four high school seniors in recent weeks.
Expected to sign with the Redhawks today are Germantown (Tenn.) guard Brianna Mitchell, Blue Valley (Kan.) forward Bailey Geiman, Highland (Mo.) guard Ashton Luttrull and Columbia (Mo.) Hickman guard Jade Holly.
Mitchell, one of the top players in the Memphis area, averaged 16.6 points, 3.5 assist, 3.9 steals and 2.4 rebounds as a junior last season.
Geiman averaged about 10 points and four rebounds last season for a team that finished as the Kansas Class 5A runner-up for the second consecutive year.
Luttrull averaged 20.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists last year to earn all-state honors.
Holly, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, averaged 13.4 points as a sophomore.