UCF Men's Hoops Adds Transfer Omar Payne

ORLANDO – Omar Payne, a transfer with experience in two Power 5 conferences, has signed with the UCF men's basketball program ahead of the Knights' inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference, head coach Johnny Dawkins announced Thursday.

"We're excited to add Omar to our program," said Coach Dawkins. "He's a great presence down low and has experience in some big-time games. He's a versatile player that will help our team as we transition into our new conference."

Payne, a 6-10, 240-pound forward originally from Kissimmee, Florida, spent the 2022-23 season with Jacksonville. Prior to that, Payne spent a year with Illinois and two with Florida. He is a career 63.7% shooter from the floor and set career highs in points and made field goals last season. Payne led the Dolphins in field goal percentage with a mark of 59.8% as well as blocks, swatting aside 26 shots.

Before appearing in 25 games and making nine starts last season, Payne was at Illinois for the 2021-22 campaign where he played in 32 contests, the most of his career. He shot a career-best 61.8% that year and helped lead the Fighting Illini to an NCAA First-Round victory over Chattanooga.

Payne spent his freshman and sophomore seasons as part of the Florida Gators' roster, playing in 54 games and starting 15. He played in his first NCAA Tournament game in the round of 32 in a three-point loss to Oral Roberts, dropping four points and collecting two rebounds in 11 minutes on the floor.

Payne arrived in Gainesville as a top 50, nationally-ranked recruit, checking in at No. 44 in ESPN's Class of 2019 rankings.

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