By Matt McCoy

With the Buckeyes out of the NCAA tournament, if you're looking for a player to root for, Michigan State's Adreian Payne is a good choice.

Payne is a 6'10 senior out of Dayton who has developed into one of the best front court players in the country. But what he's done on the court is insignificant compared to what he's done off of it.

It started with a routine hospital visit by the Michigan State basketball team two years ago. Payne and his teammates stopped by the room of then 6-year old Lacey Holsworth, who immediately took to Payne's smile. The two have been close ever since. The story of Payne and Princess Lacey is detailed beautifully in Wednesday's Detroit News.

 Lacey, now 8, was invited by Payne to accompany him onto the court for his senior night ceremony this month. At the Big Ten Tournament, Payne carried Lacey up the ladder to snip the nets after the Spartans won the title. 

We cheer our favorite athletes for the excitement and pleasure they bring us on the field or court but many of these kids, like Payne, are inspirational as people. Maybe you're not a Michigan State fan. Maybe you've never liked Adreian Payne. Hopefully you do now.

You can check out more about his relationship with Lacey on these features, from the Big Ten Network's "The Journey." The first is from last season, the second aired just last week. They're a must watch...and you may need a Kleenex.