WALTHAM – Adreian Payne is 23 years old, a young man by nearly every worldly measure except NBA teams that are considering drafting him.
“All I hear really is, I’m too old and I don’t have that much upside,” the Michigan State power forward said after working out for the Celtics Wednesday.
“It doesn’t really matter. When it’s time to get on the court, we’ll see who’s got the upside and who doesn’t.”
In a draft class featuring several top prospects who just finished their freshman year of college, Payne is an elder statesman, having played four seasons for the Spartans, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a senior.
“Yeah, I’m a little older than a couple of the guys,” said the 6-foot-10-inch, 240-pound Payne. “[But] when it’s time to get on the court, age doesn’t matter. You’re just out there to produce for your team and show what you can do. I don’t feel old at all.”
Payne, who will work out for several more teams after completing his first individual predraft workout with the Celtics, is expected by scouts and league executive to be picked later in the draft’s first round.
“I’m just trying to stay in the first round and continue to move up,” he said.
Williams gets chance
UMass-Lowell guard Akeem Williams was lying in bed Monday when his phone rang. The Celtics were on the other end, calling to invite him to their workout.
He thought it was a prank, at first, but as soon as he hung up the phone, he went to the gym. “It’s a little bit shocking, honestly,” he said. “I never expected this.”
The 5-foot-10-inch combo guard and Brockton native starred at Avon High School before playing at UMass-Lowell, which moved to Division 1 this year.
Williams led the River Hawks in scoring in each of his three seasons, averaging 19.9 points per game as a junior.
Williams was a bit gassed after completing the Celtics’ notorious three-minute sprinting drill that they use to close predraft workouts, but he still seemed elated at the chance just to be one of five players to work out.
“It’s like a dream come true for a local kid playing at UMass-Lowell, a small Division 1 school, so I never envisioned getting this opportunity,” he said.
Of the overall process, Williams added that he was, “really excited. My mom’s loving it. She wants some Celtics gear. My dad and my mom are real happy for me. They just want me to go out and play my hardest, nothing to lose out here.”
When asked how he fared in the workout, Williams was positive.
“I think I played all right,” Williams said. “If I don’t get another call, I won’t be disappointed. Kind of came out here with nothing to lose. But I’d love another opportunity to try with another team.”
Young runs marathon
As Wednesday marked National Running Day, Celtics assistant coach and avid runner Jamie Young reflected on his longest and most challenging run yet, the Boston Marathon.
The 38-year-old finished April’s 26.2-mile race, his first ever marathon, in 4 hours 24 minutes 36 seconds, according to the Boston Athletic Association’s website.
Young ran on behalf of the Celtics’ charity, the Shamrock Foundation, for which he said he helped raise $11,000. “That was the best part,” he said.
But for as much as he prepared, running about every day, including up to 20 miles, Young said the real race was a lot harder than he imagined.
“Those last six miles were brutal,” Young added. “I thought I was going to shut down.”
He said passing through Heartbreak Hill between the 20 and 21-mile mark wasn’t too bad.
“Then you see the CITGO sign [in Kenmore Square], and it’s like, it’s not getting any closer,” he said. “It looked like a mirage.”
His wife, Jaynene, and young son Jamieson Thomas, were waiting for him at the finish line. At that point, “I was ready to collapse,” Young said, adding that he felt “terrible” for the next couple days.
Still, Young, the longest tenured member of the Celtics coaching staff after completing his 13th season with the team, enjoyed the experience.
“It was fun,” he said. “The people were phenomenal. They were really awesome.”
When asked if he would do it again, Young said not right away.
“Yeah, but not next year,” he said.
He said he hopes to be busy at that time, with the Celtics in the playoffs.
Iverson in attendance
Colton Iverson was spotted at the Celtics’ training facility. The team drafted the 7-footer in the second round last year, though a roster crunch forced him overseas to play professionally in Turkey. Iverson, a former Colorado State standout, will be working out with the Celtics for the next month before joining the team for Summer League in Orlando in early July . . . South Florida forward Victor Rudd looked around at the 17 world championship banners in the Celtics’ facility, and it brought back old memories. “This is an historic franchise,” Rudd said. “You come in and see all this . . . I’ve been to the Lakers’ facility, just because I’m from there, but it’s almost the same thing. It’s fun.”