Senior Paul's making his point

Senior Paul's making his point


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.

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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.