Elfrid Payton officially accepted the Pete Maravich Memorial Award Saturday night, given to the top major college player in the state of Louisiana. Louisiana Ragin' Cajun head coach Bob Marlin presented the award to his point guard at the LABC (Louisiana Association Of Basketball Coaches) banquet in Baton Rouge.

Payton officially declared for the NBA draft two weeks ago. He will take three final exams tomorrow, wrapping up his semester before returning to his training. Leaving UL one year early to declare for the draft wasn't an easy decision for Payton.

"The last question I asked myself that led me to make the decision (on whether he should forego his senior season and enter the NBA draft) was where was I projected to be drafted," said Payton. "Did I have a legitimate chance of moving up? The answer was yes."

For the past few weeks, the Ragin' Cajun point guard has been in California, training for the upcoming NBA combine and draft.

"I've been working out a lot. I came back to accept this award. I'll finish my exams Monday and then get right back on a plane and return to California," said Payton.

The day to day grind of preparing for his basketball career is a routine Payton embraces.

"I wake up early. Get in a court workout in for an hour and a half. I follow that with a break, then hit the weight room for an hour," explained Payton. "After that, I rest and take care of my body."

In 3 years at UL, Payton made quite an impact. Last season, he was the only player in Division I NCAA basketball who averaged 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. He was named the Sun Belt Conference defensive player of the year, and was one of ten D1 players this season to register a triple-double.

In addition to the Pete Maravich Memorial award, Payton was honored last month with the Lefty Driesell award. It's awarded to the best defensive player in the Country.

Payton is projected to be a first round pick by DraftExpress.com.

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