Illinois basketball can keep that jersey with Paul #3 on the back of it for a few more years.
Western Michigan’s Darius Paul, the brother of recently departed Illinois star guard Brandon Paul, is heading to Illinois to play for coach John Groce.
Paul was an under-the-radar recruit for Western Michigan coming out of Warren. But he promptly put together an impressive freshman year this past season, averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game for the Broncos. He was named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year.
The 6-9, 225-pound Paul was considered a late bloomer in high school who always showed upside. He always had a soft touch for a big man and had range that extended out to the three-point line. His performance and production at Western Michigan during his freshman year showed signs he was beginning to tap into that potential.
In a late February game, a 65-62 win over Toledo, Paul scored a season-high 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Paul’s high school career included a state runner-up finish as a junior, with Paul leading coach Chuck Ramsey’s team in scoring with over 11 points a game. As a senior, Paul signed with Western Michigan in the fall and then came on strong as the season wore on.
In a key late-season game against Proviso East, Paul scored 19 points with 13 rebounds and five assists. He poured in 30 points with five 3-pointers in a big conference win over Mundelein. Paul, who was a top 10 prospect in the Class of 2012 in Illinois, led Warren to 23 wins and a super-sectional berth as a senior as he averaged 18 points and 9.7 rebounds a game.
Paul will sit out next season as a transfer and have three years of eligibility remaining at Illinois. He will join a frontcourt in 2013-2014 that will include 6-10 senior Nnanna Egwu, 6-10 sophomore Maverick Morgan, 6-9 sophomore Austin Colbert, 6-6 senior Myke Henry and 6-9 freshman Michael Finke.
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