Zan Payne watching, learning, waiting to play

Zan Payne (Jeff Houchin Photo)


Not being physically able to play the last two seasons has been hard for Kentucky redshirt freshman Zan Payne.

However, having his father, Kenny Payne, as an assistant on the UK coaching staff might even make things harder on him at times than recovering from the knee injury suffered in high school.

“He’s harder on me, so whenever I mess up, he’s always giving me a look or just starie me down,” Zan Payne said. “So, after practice, he’ll teach me what I did wrong.”

Payne has started to practice but at times after practice his knee has had swelling.

“So that’s been holding me back. But that’s just the process of having a knee (injury),” Payne said.

He’s learned to watch and learn from the sidelines and not to be shy about asking questions of coaches and/or players. 

“If you ask the coaches questions, that’s really important to them. They know that you’re paying attention,” the UK freshman said.

He’s also paid attention to how the team has bonded, one reason the Cats didn’t lose confidence despite some early struggles.

“We all just started getting closer. We go everywhere together. It really just helps everybody become closer and it actually helps you play together better,” Zan Payne said. “So when you’re out on the court, you know you’re not by yourself, you have your teammates with you and they always have your back.”

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