The NCAA tournament is over now and while Kentucky and UConn put on a great show for the championship game the real standout from the tournament was an eight-year-old girl named Lacey Holsworth, or Princess Lacey as many knew her. Lacey passed away this week from the cancer she had been battling the last two years. Lacey inspired many throughout the NCAA tournament. Michigan State star, and NBA-bound, Adreian Payne formed a bond with Lacey two years ago when he was visiting the hospital that was treating her for neuroblastoma.
The two grew very close and Lacey often visited Payne for his games. She was present this year when Michigan State won the Big Ten title. Payne even carried Lacey with him up the ladder to cut the net. On senior night Payne carried her around the court and he ended up scoring a team record for most points scored during a tournament game that night. Payne said she was a huge motivation because she was always happy when he played well. Only four days prior to her death Payne brought Lacey to Dallas, Texas to judge a dunking contest.
She was diagnosed back in 2011 with a tumor in her kidney when doctors also found a tumor on her spine. Eventually the cancer spread to her neck, head, and pelvis. This weekend, only a few days after her death, Payne was honored at the John R. Wooden Award Gala for their friendship. Payne spoke softly of Lacey in accepting his award, “She taught me to preserve through anything and just be strong.”