UI Q&A: Brandon Paul

UI Q&A: Brandon Paul

Brandon Paul

6-2, 180, Warren

Ranked No. 44 by Rivals.com and No. 88 by Scout.com, Paul averaged 20 points and six rebounds as a junior at Gurnee Warren

The son of an AAU coach (Lynda Paul) and a former semi-pro football player (Cliff Paul), the UI recruiting class's top athlete has the lineage of a Division I player. Brandon Paul once took up Tae Kwan Do and played one season of football. His ascension on the court was rapid: he rarely played on the varsity as a sophomore, but was a News-Gazette All-Stater as a junior. Beat writer Paul Klee caught up with Paul on Monday.

What's your plan for signing day?

Brandon Paul: "Right after school we're having a party for when I'm going to sign. We're going to have cake and stuff. But I'm going to sign in the morning and send it to them (at Illinois)."

When Bruce Weber offered you a scholarship, you weren't even a varsity regular yet.

BP: "I remember that. It was after I visited and they offered me a scholarship. I was really excited. I always wanted to go there. I was just kind of waiting for it. It made me happy when he did that. My first (scholarship) offer was Wisconsin-Green Bay. After that it was Loyola and Northwestern."

How did D.J. Richardson's commitment influence your decision?

BP: "I found out D.J. had committed, so I did it right after that. I was exciting to hear that D.J. was going to Illinois. I wanted to play with him. I talk to D.J. a lot. I talk to Joseph a lot. I wanted to stay closer to home. The location was important. It's a good family place, and they made me feel like I was at home. And they have a winning tradition there."

Who's the toughest coach: (Warren coach) Chuck Ramsey, (AAU coach) Dickey Simpkins or Lynda Paul (mom)?

BP: "I'd have to say my mom. She's been on me since Day One. She's always been trying to get me to do my best. She won't let me take a day off. It was fun when I was younger. Then it got tough at times because I thought she would pick on me a little more than the other guys. But it was all for the best."

You need a nickname.

BP: "I don't really have one. People just call me B.P. or B-Paul. Something like that."

Did you pick out a number yet?

BP: "I'm going to wear No. 3 my freshman year. Then I'm going to switch to (No.) 23. I wanted 23, but 3 is the only that's available when I get there. So I'll just play with 3 for a year. I've always worn 23. I wore it last year and I'll wear it this year, too."

Your brother is a student at Illinois.

BP: "Yeah, he's a junior down there. He watches a lot of basketball. He used to play a lot of basketball, too. I'm not sure if he goes to all the games (at Illinois). I know he's with his frat brothers a lot."

You used to play football. Ron Zook could use a safety.

BP: "I don't think I'll be going back to football. I played my eighth-grade year. My dad was pretty good."

What can this recruiting class accomplish at Illinois?

BP: "As hard as we work, that's how much we're going to get back."