With a pair of former Aggie basketball players — Ryan Sypkens and Pablo Mancasola — signing their first professional contracts in the recent days, now comes word that 2011 UC Davis graduate Mark Payne will continue his pro career.
The 6-foot-8 guard will play this season with French first-division club team Champagne Châlons-Reims Basket, one of 18 teams competing in the League Nationale de Basket Pro B.
Payne and his new teammates are currently preparing for a busy week of games at the Summer of Thunder — a three-week basketball event hosted by the Bahamas Basketball Federation. Taking place throughout the month of August are games involving 14 U.S. universities, 11 club teams from the Bahamas and two national teams.
Châlons-Reims, the lone international professional team invited by the BBF, will face the Kentucky Wildcats on Monday and Saturday, with a game against the Dominican Republic slated for Wednesday.
Once its exhibition schedule concludes, Châlons-Reims will head home to prepare for its Aug. 23 home contest.
Payne — who is sixth all-time in scoring at UCD (1,382 points) — is coming off of his most successful season abroad as he averaged 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game for Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki.
PAOK Thessaloniki was the second Greek club in as many years to add Payne to its roster as the Stockton native donned Panionios BC Athens’ jersey for the 2012-13 season.
UCD men’s tennis
Building upon an already stellar nationally ranked recruiting class, the Aggie program has added a pair of Division-I transfers for the 2014-15 campaign.
UCD head coach Eric Steidlmayer announced Friday that Jesse Ross, who played his freshman year at Santa Clara in 2013-14, and Eli Whittle, who competed at Brown University last season, will join the Aggies’ roster this fall with three years of eligibility remaining.
“We are very excited to have both Eli and Jesse become Aggies,” Steidlmayer said. “We know that they both are very good players, both have their best tennis ahead of them, and both are very excited to work hard to become the best they can be.”
Ross, was ranked No. 23 in the state after a strong senior campaign at Laurel Springs High in Ojai. He saw limited action with the Broncos, going 3-6 in doubles and 3-9 during singles play.
Whittle, from Nipomo, returns to his West Coast roots as he was the No. 25 recruit in California following a stellar prep career at Arroyo Grande. He went 4-1 in doubles and 3-4 in singles in his first college season.
Davis High graduate Nick Watney was under par for the third consecutive day as he shot a 1-under 70 in the third round of the PGA Championship on Saturday at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.
The former Blue Devils is tied for 23rd place, eight strokes back of leader Rory McIlroy, who shot a 67 on Saturday and is at 13-under.
Watney is at 5-under following rounds 69 on Thursday and Friday and a Saturday performance that saw him card his third birdie of the day on the 18th hole.
DHS cross country
Runners interested in joining the Blue Devil cross country program for the fall season are invited to a parent/athlete meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High.
At the meeting, head coach Bill Gregg and his staff will explain the expectations for athletes who wish to join the team. For more information, contact Gregg at 530-304-9221 or email@example.com.
Meet the new DHS AD
The Davis community is invited to meet new Blue Devil athletic director Jeff Lorenson at an event on Tuesday, Aug. 19, on the DHS Quad.
Lorenson will be available to meet Devil fans between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. with refreshments provided by The Hotdogger.