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    Elfrid Payton can relate to dreams, aspirations of Jr NBA campers. He was once one of them

    May 11, 2017
    Magic guard Elfrid Payton holds court before Manila sportswriters during his visit. Jaime Campos

    ORLANDO Magic guard Elfrid Payton is the type of player who can quickly relate to the struggles of aspiring cagers in the Philippines. 

    After all, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Rookie Draft had to thread the eye of the needle just to get to where he's at.

    With the adversity he overcame to fulfill his NBA dream, Payton looks forward to sharing the lessons he’s learned in his young career as he takes on mentorship duties in the 2017 Jr. NBA National Training Camp.

    "The stereotypical ‘coming from a small school, you can’t be that good’ mentality. I think much more today though, a lot of guys come in and break those barriers. Guys like Damian Lillard are breaking barriers," said Payton, who played for Louisiana-Lafayette in college. 

    "I appreciate them a lot. I have a lot of love for basketball, and anybody who shares the love for basketball, I appreciate them as well," he added. 

    [See On PH visit, Kanter reiterates 'special' teammate Westbrook deserves MVP]

    Like most Filipino kids, Payton developed a love for the game from his family, particularly his grandfather.

    Growing up in Louisiana, the 23-year-old guard bared that basketball camps helped hone his skills and opened an opportunity for him to go to college through an athletic scholarship grant.

    "Things like this are huge and it’s a chance for one of those children to be beneficial to them. In college, I had only one scholarship, I made the most out of it," he continued. 

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    Payton looks to pay it forward in playing the mentor role this time around, as he plans to impart the knowledge that he got back then to these young kids who are all dreaming of one day making it big in the world of basketball. 

    "Maybe I'll touch ball handling, fundamental passing and just being a leader," Payton said. "I’m just matching their energy, thinking about the fundamentals that I learned when I was their age."

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    Magic guard Elfrid Payton holds court before Manila sportswriters during his visit. Jaime Campos
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