Two-phoned Payton II enjoys NCAA berth

Gary Payton II is twice as able to be plugged in as OSU travels to the NCAA Tournament

As members of the Oregon State men’s basketball program waited to see if their team would be selected to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 26 years, many players checked their phones, sometimes taking pictures and videos of the festivities in Reser Stadium’s club level.

Gary Payton II operated a little differently.

The senior guard, who leads OSU in points, rebounds, assists and steals this year, owns two phones: an Android and an iPhone.

He keeps two phones on hand “from time to time,” he says, to compartmentalize.

“Family and social media,” he said. “I try to separate them. It is what it is.”

Payton II isn’t even into social media very much, abstaining from platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Some accounts have been made in his name, but they’ve all been fakes.

“I got snapchat, that’s about it,” he said.

And when OSU found out it earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament and would play Friday against Virginia Commonwealth in Oklahoma, Payton II had twice as many phones as his teammates to receive congratulatory messages on. His father, for one: former All-American Gary Payton, Sr.

“I feel it (vibrating) on me right now,” Payton II said minutes after OSU’s spot was revealed in the NCAA bracket. “As soon as I get done (with interviews), I’m going to call pops and see what he has to say.”

Payton II added he didn’t have too many conversations with his dad about making the tournament beforehand. Payton, Sr. was a senior at OSU the last time the Beavers made the NCAA bracket in 1990.

“Actually we did not talk about it,” Payton II said. “We just said we were going to see what happens on Sunday. He said he knew (OSU would get in), but you never know what’s going to happen with the (selection) committee.”

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