Months after receiving an offer from Penn State, 2013 Lutheran (Calif.) small forward Payton Banks made an official visit to campus and became the third member of the class, joining point guard Geno Thorpe and big man Julian Moore.
Banks is Penn State's third commitment in the Class of 2013.
We caught up with the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder after his official visit to campus and got the scoop on how the California native became a Nittany Lion.
Lions 247: So when did you decide to make the decision and commit to Penn State?
Payton Banks:I just spoke to Coach Chambers and told him I wanted to commit. It’s a ridiculous campus with ridiculous facilities, everything is brand new. The coaches are phenomenal. Everything is positive, just their system and mentality fit with what I wanted in a college.
Lions 247: What was it about the visit that made you want to commit?
Payton Banks: I came in on Sunday. They were right there to greet me at the airport. The whole coaching staff was a part of it the whole time. Coach Chambers drove me around campus in the golf cart personally, which was a fun experience. It was more the coaching staff and the system that made me commit, but the campus and facilities are phenomenal.
Lions 247: What were the coaches saying to you about how they plan on using you?
Payton Banks: It is more of a 4-out-1-in system, and I fit really well in that type of situation. Coming off screen-and-rolls, moving without the ball, give-and-gos, it is a good fit for me. Some key players are leaving this year, so I’m going to try and come in and make and impact.
Lions 247: Who was your host and how did you interact with the current team?
Payton Banks: I stayed with D.J. Newbill. He’s a transfer and didn’t get to play last year. It was really cool, everyone was really nice. I also hung out with Tim Frazier a bit. Just seeing their mentality as captains of the team, what it takes mentally to make it and be successful at this level. Especially for Tim Frazier to talk to me about that, with where he came from and the transformation he’s made, it was really cool.
Lions 247: What did you improve upon the most this summer?
Payton Banks: Improved the most on my mental game and my attitude. I struggled a little bit in the beginning but ended off on a high note. I realized that I needed to become a more complete player on the court, and by the end of the summer I feel I really improved upon that. Penn State, the coaches and their system, I really feel like they’re going to put me in a position to succeed.
Lions 247: You were considering other offers from Pepperdine, Nevada and UTEP. Did you take any other visits?
Payton Banks: I took an unofficial to Pepperdine, and had set up an official to Nevada for the end of the month, but after seeing what Penn State had to offer I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Lions 247: How does it feel to finally make a decision and be committed?
Payton Banks: It’s huge, a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Now I can go into my senior year and perform to what is expected of me without worrying about where I’m going to go to college.
Lions 247: With your final year in high school on the horizon, what are you looking to improve upon to succeed at the next level?
Payton Banks: Physically I need to get stronger, with the Big Ten conference in my future I need to bulk up as a freshman coming in. If I can arrive on campus in the right physical condition, it will be a lot easier for me to transition into the college game. The style of play in the Big Ten, the teams in the conference are so good and every game will be extremely competitive. There aren’t going to be any off-nights.
Lions 247: Any message for the Penn State fans?
Payton Banks: Get ready! I’m really happy and excited to be a part of the family.