The staff of Writing Illini gives their opinions about the Fighting Illini’s newest transfer Darius Paul (Brandon Paul’s little brother). They discuss how this will help or hurt the Illini and what Darius will bring to the team next season.
Ricky: The Illini received a huge improvement in the form of Darius Paul. Yes, I know, D Paul is the MAC Freshman of the year, but Paul will bring rebounding to the Fighting Illini next season. Paul averaged around 5.7 rebounds per game and that is more than anyone on Illinois last season.
The leading rebounder for the Illini was Nnanna Egwu with 4.9 RPG. Now, with Egwu and Paul, the Illini will have a stronger rebounding force in the paint next season.
Austin: I like the addition of Darius, especially given that he is the MAC freshman of the year, and he gets over ten points a game. He will be a good addition to the team, especially if Henry (which is purely rumor at this point) transfers. I like the move for him, as he wants to be like his brother.
Having someone like that, he will want to try and be better than BP3, so that will push him to work harder. I could see Darius Paul being a solid starter in the Big Ten, and I can see him averaging 15 a game in his first season in the Orange and Blue.
Ryan: First of all, to compare him to Brandon would be a folly. Sure, they share genetics, and the same last name, but that’s where the comparisons will most likely end. The younger Paul is a solid pickup for Illinois because he’s already proven he can produce at the Division 1 level, averaging 10.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg while earning MAC Freshman of the year honors for Western Michigan. Another reason this is a good pickup for Illinois is simple: his size. Darius is 6’8″, 220 pounds, and will fill a need for the Illini going forward.
Skilled big men are a premium commodity, and Groce has done a good job in securing this depth giving commitment. The final, and most important, reason this is a great pickup is that Groce, and Illinois, beat out fellow tournament programs Florida, Marquette, Miami (Fla.), Iowa State, and Missouri for his services. In order to take the next step as program, and to truly be viewed as elite, Illinois needs to win recruiting battles against these types of schools on a consistent basis.
What do you think, Illini nation? Where do you see Darius Paul fitting in the Illini next season?
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs and Ryan Kraemer.
Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.
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