University of Louisiana at Lafayette junior guard Elfrid Payton officially declared for the 2014 NBA Draft on Monday. Payton released a statement through the school announcing his intentions to enter the draft:
"This has been a long and engaging process for both me and my family. First, I would like thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to make a decision like this. I would also like to thank my family, coaches and the people close to me that have helped me gather information during this process.
"With that being said, I am excited to announce that I will forego my final year of eligibility at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and will be entering the 2014 NBA Draft. I sincerely want to say 'thank you' to my coaches, my teammates, and most importantly the great Ragin' Cajun fans that have supported me during the last three seasons. This has been a great three years where I've grown up, both on and off the court. I will be Cajun forever. Thank you for everything."
Payton enjoyed an excellent junior season with the Ragin' Cajuns, averaging 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 50.9 percent from the field. The 6'3 guard led the Sun Belt Conference in steals for the second consecutive season, and his stellar defense earned him the 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year award.
Payton guided UL-Lafayette to the school's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005. Payton had 24 points and eight rebounds in a second-round loss to Creighton.
Payton's strong season has his stock on the rise, and many pundits have him projected as a first-round selection in the upcoming draft. DraftExpress currently has Payton going 25th in their latest mock draft, making him the fourth point-guard selected behind Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Tyler Ennis.