Cully Payne leaving Iowa

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Iowa sophomore point guard Cully Payne confirfmed through Twitter on Tuesday morning that he will leave the Iowa men's basketball program.

"I will no longer play basketball at Iowa. Thank you to all the fans and people that have supported me over the past to years," Payne tweeted around 8:30 a.m.


Hawkeye Report's Tom Kakert first reported Payne had received his scholarship release from Iowa, per his AAU coach in the Chicago area. Attempts to reach Payne or members of the Iowa coaching staff were unsuccessful Monday night.

Around 10 p.m. Monday, Payne sent a Twitter post that read "It's about that time that I close this chapter in my life and get ready to move on.. I got a great family and gf (girlfriend) and friends #thankful" It also appeared on his Facebook page.

Payne, a tri-captain, started all 32 games as a freshman during the 2009-2010 season. He started the first five games this year but opted for surgery to repair a sports hernia. Payne instead used this as a red-shirt season.

Payne averaged 8.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds a game for Iowa as a freshman. He was named to the Sporting News' all-freshman team following the season. He was seventh overall in assists.

Payne's departure wasn't unexpected, however. Bryce Cartwright emerged in Payne's absence and led the Big Ten in assists in league play. Coach Fran McCaffery said Cartwright had earned the position outright, but in a late-season news conference he said the players could possibly play on the court at the same time next year.

"I think I saw enough of Cully to know that he can play," McCaffery said. "I think they can play together. I think Bryce is better with the ball."

Payne originally committed to play at DePaul, then signed a letter of intent to play at Alabama. When Mark Gottfried was fired, Payne was released from his scholarship and later signed with Iowa.

The Hawkeyes now have three open scholarships for the upcoming season.

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