Athletic Paul Big Catch For Illini

College basketball coaches must scout prospects long before they reach maturity. They must estimate future potential hidden within young, undeveloped bodies. Coach Bruch Weber recruited Warren's Brandon Paul before he ever played a varsity game, but his evaluations proved accurate. On Wednesday, Paul will become an Illini.

A 6'-2" guard, Brandon Paul has tremendous athleticism. Working with his Warren High School team in the winter and the Team NPL AAU program in the spring and summer, Paul has blossomed into an all-around player with high national standing.

He can shoot threes, he has the quickness to get his shot whenever he wants it, and he can dunk over the top of taller foes. And he has not yet reached his potential. He can be an elite level player at the college level.

Brandon's drive to excel is demonstrated by his dedication to work on his game year around. He has worked with Dickie Simpkins and Team NLP for a long time now.

"Yeah, about 2 and 1/2 years probably. Each week we worked I got better."

Paul also developed confidence by playing against talented players around the country. His success last summer gave him a big boost.

"Yeah, it definitely got me excited about getting my game better, getting out there around the nation and comparing myself with other top players."

Wednesday is National Signing Day for high school basketball players, and Paul is eager to finalize a commitment he made to the University of Illinois more than one year ago.

"I'm really looking forward to finally signing this week. I can't wait. It's been a year and about a month since I committed."

Paul is part of a signing class that compares favorably with the best ones in Illini history. He and future teammates D. J. Richardson, Tyler Griffey and Joseph Bertrand have talked about doing big things at Illinois.

"I definitely think we have a bright future ahead of us. If we keep working, I think we'll go far once we get to college."

Brandon made his official visit to Illinois the weekend of the "World's Biggest Basketball Practice" at Memorial Stadium. He enjoyed the football game, the Illini practice, and the pickup games with fellow recruits afterward.

"That was really fun. I got to hang out with the players. There were alot of people there, and it was a good atmosphere. I talked to alot of the recruits. After the football game, we went to the gym and played alot of games with them (younger recruits). There was definitely alot of young talent there. They all played really well."

This week is the start of high school basketball practice for Illinois schools, so once the euphoria of signing day wears off, Brandon will dedicate himself to helping his high school team. He's optimistic of having a good season.

"I think we look better than last year. We've got a lot of returning talent. I'm looking forward to the start of the season. I'm probably gonna play a little point guard in the future. It should be fun."

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