Senior Paul's making his point

Senior Paul's making his point

By MARCUS JACKSON

CHAMPAIGN — The last game that mattered for Illinois was a forgettable one for Brandon Paul.

Paul committed his seventh turnover with 44 seconds left in a 64-61 loss to Iowa at the Big Ten tournament. Seven seconds later, the junior committed a foul and was benched for the remainder of the game.

Fast forward to Paul’s senior season. He’s playing a new position — point guard — for a new coach — John Groce — who demands steady play at that position.

“I’ve just tried to make better decisions with the ball. I’ve watched a lot of film of myself and what defenses might be thrown at me. I want to be more sure with my passes and limit the careless turnovers,” Paul said. “I have a lot more confidence in myself, and every day I come in and push myself more than I did the day before.”

Paul started as the lead guard in Illinois’ 79-47 exhibition win against Lewis on Saturday. He had 11 points, five assists and three turnovers. He’ll get the nod in Sunday’s exhibition finale against West Chester (3 p.m., WDWS 1400-AM, WHMS 97.5-FM), with sophomore Tracy Abrams serving as the backup.

“Limiting his turnovers,” Paul said when asked what coaches want to see from Abrams, who started 19 games as a freshman. “He’s a great ball handler; he makes good decisions with the ball. I just think he’s still maturing and just leading the team, and getting teammates open shots is one thing I think he can do best.”

Point well taken
Beat writer Marcus Jackson’s three best floor generals in the Big Ten:
Trey Burke     Michigan
— Sophomore flirted with NBA last season, but he returned and was named a preseason All-American.

Aaron Craft    Ohio State
— Junior considered the premier perimeter defender in the country. He’s no slouch on the offensive end, either.

Tim Frazier    Penn State
— Senior led league in assists (6.2) and was second in scoring last season (18.8) en route to All-Big Ten honors.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

ptevonian wrote on November 02, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Having Paul play point guard this season may or may not be the best thing for the Illini's record, but it's certainly the best thing for Brandon's future as a professional player.  Here's hoping he pulls an Evan Turner.