There’s a sentiment out there that Darius Paul to Illinois is a done deal, mainly because of his family’s connection to the Illinois program and its coaching staff.
Older brother Brandon had a positive experience in his only year under John Groce and Co., but that doesn’t guarantee Illinois lands the forward who was named the Mid-American Conference’s Freshman of the Year after averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds for Western Michigan.
As I wrote earlier this week, Paul has been contacted by several programs since it was revealed he was leaving the Broncos last week. Florida, Miami (Fla.), Missouri, USC, Marquette, Nevada, Iowa State and Nebraska are among the programs expressing interest in Paul, who will visit the Illini today.
It’s been said that Paul left Western Michigan to test himself at a higher level and while there’s truth to that, the turnover in the Western Michigan coaching staff played a large part in his decision to leave.
During the recruiting process, Paul grew close with Broncos assistants Larry Farmer and Rick Carter. Farmer left for North Carolina State and Carter for Missouri before last season.
So while the obvious family connection puts Illinois in a favorable position with Paul, it by no means guarantees he will wind up at Illinois.