Ever since it was announced that Darius Paul was transferring from Western Michigan people have been doing the obvious math and wondering if he'd be making his way to Champaign. After all, Darius is the younger brother of Brandon Paul, whom I believe you may have heard of.
Personally I don't think it's going to happen, but there's at least one person who does. Joe Henricksen of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Darius Paul to Champaign is the logical conclusion.
With the calls I've taken from college coaches regarding Darius Paul, you would think we were talking about another Anthony Davis! The stream of inquiries has been endless from mid-major plus programs to high-majors.
I am going to go the obvious, sensical route here with Darius Paul and say, yes, he does return home and ends up at Illinois. It just makes too much sense. Brandon Paul, his brother, played at Illinois and, at times under first-year coach John Groce, flourished. The family has a comfort level there and a relationship with the coaching staff.
And why wouldn't Illinois want him? You're talking about a 6-9, big-bodied inside threat with touch around the basket and face-up ability shooting the basketball and can rebound. He put together a fantastic season as a freshman at Western Michigan. College coaches LOVE known commodities, players that produced at a certain level in college. Plus, he has three years of eligibility after sitting him for one year where you can work with him, develop his body and raise his level of play.
Darius Paul proved he was a recruiting steal for Western Michigan. Now, because of an improved motor and his productivity as a freshman in the Mid-American Conference -- he averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds a game this past year -- he becomes a prospect all over again. And this time a high-major one.
All of which makes sense, I can't deny this, but I'm still skeptical that Darius ends up in Champaign.
It's not so much a question of his ability as much as I don't know that John Groce wants to use one of his open scholarships in the 2014 class on Darius Paul. With the transfer of Aaron Cosby the Illini currently have two open scholarships for the 2014-15 season. Michael Finke already claims one as the first member of the 2014 recruiting class, and I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'd like to see those two open scholarships saved for players like Jaquan Lyle and Cliff Alexander.
Now, if Darius Paul does transfer fo Champaign, it's not as if it would be impossible to bring in a 2014 class with three or more players. I mean, a lack of scholarships has never stopped Tom Crean or John Calipari, has it? Transfers happen.