‘The Mitten’ plans to create own legacy at OSU

Gary Payton IILindsay Daniels

Gary Payton II dunks over the USU-Eastern defense on Jan. 11.

With his playing days at Salt Lake Community College now complete, Gary Payton II is ready to continue his basketball career. The sophomore guard has committed to play for Oregon State University next season.

Gary Payton II was a key player on the SLCC men’s basketball team for two years. The Bruins fell short on their quest for a National Championship this past March, losing 81-78 in the first round of the NJCAA tournament. Payton II finished his career at Salt Lake Community College with eight points, eight dimes, and one steal.

Payton II was the MVP of the Region 18 tournament and CO-MVP of the regular season in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.

Now that he has finished at SLCC, Payton II is ready to continue his basketball career with the Beavers, the same school where his Hall of Fame father played during his time in college.

“The decision was hard – I was thinking of taking my own route and make my own little history at St. Mary’s,” Payton II says. “Everybody knows we are two different players, following his footsteps you can’t expect the same thing from me as he did there.”

His father, Gary Payton, had a great career at Oregon State where he averaged 18 points a game with nearly eight assists during his time at Oregon State.

He also led the Beavers to three NCAA tournament appearances, while becoming the school’s career leader in points (2,172), assists (938) and steals (321). He was a consensus All-American in 1990 when he was selected Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year.

Payton II was given the nickname, “The Mitten” to pay homage to his dad’s nickname, “The Glove” for his stellar defense he put on every time he hit the court.

“You don’t want to say one signing is more exciting than another, but given the family connection and the relationship we have with the Payton’s, it’s so nice to be able to get another Gary Payton on the roster,” says head coach Craig Robinson of Oregon State in a press release.

Payton II will take his 14 points a game to Oregon State, a PAC 12 school, and will return to Utah when the Beavers play the Utes.