JUNE 4, 2008
Staff writer Paul Klee might be the fastest text messager in the Midwest. FWIW, each Wednesday we'll utilize his GR8 skill to interview a text-savvy personality. THX to Illini basketball recruit Brandon Paul, who answered our ?'s via text before leading Warren High School into the Illinois high school team camp Sunday:
Your dad played semi-pro football. Did you consider playing football, too?
I actually played football in my eighth-grade summer. I wasn't bad. I considered it a little bit, but then I realized I have too much basketball going on to have time for it. A lot of the high school football coaches kept urging me to play, but I just couldn't do it.
And your mom played hoops at Ball State. Can she beat you in H-O-R-S-E?
She may think she can in her little world, but I doubt it. Ha ha. She always jokes and tells me, "Brandon, I taught you everything you know. But not everything I know."
That's good, I might have to use that. How has life changed since you committed to Illinois?
It has changed big time! At my last holiday tournament, (in) Pontiac, usually all the little kids go up to all the players and ask for autographs. Then after certain games – specifically after me vs. (Georgia Tech recruit Iman) Shumpert – I would walk out of the locker room and there would be a line of kids asking for me to sign something. This girl asked me to sign her shirt!
And there's been a few times where I'm out in public and someone would spot who I am and go crazy. Meanwhile the other people around me are like, "Who is this teenager and why is this guy freaking out?!" It's been great.
My next question was going to be whether you've signed any autographs. Guess so.
Yeah, and we went to a restaurant later that day and our waitresses asked me to sign an autograph for a fan in the restaurant. Also, a couple teachers and friends of mine had me sign something for them. One of our custodians took a Warren basketball and had me sign it for his grandson.
I always liked Illinois. When I watched them go to the (NCAA) championship game, I said to myself, "That's where I want to go." I wanted to stay close to home as well.
How often do you talk to the other Illinois recruits, like Jereme (Richmond) or Crandall (Head) or D.J. (Richardson)?
I talk to Jereme via text every now and then. I talk to D.J. and Joe (Bertrand) on myspace.com and stuff like that, and I saw them in Akron (at an AAU tournament) and talked to them both for a little while. I haven't really talked to Crandall much.
Warren plays Sterling and UI recruit Joseph Bertrand on Sunday. I need a prediction.
Oh, really? I didn't know that. I think it should be a fun game to watch if you're an Illinois fan. Of course, I have faith in my team and I think we will win. I remember watching them play last year (at The News-Gazette/WDWS Shootout at the Hall) but didn't really notice anyone else besides Joe stepping up. So we will see.
More of a thrill: The battle with Iman Shumpert (who had 34 points), signing autographs for strangers or Textin' with Klee?
Ha ha. Droppin' 36 against one of the top 20 2008 players in the nation!