Darius Paul was dismissed from the Illinois program on Friday night, following his second suspension.
“After further review of the situation, Darius has been dismissed from our team,” Illinois head coach John Groce said in a statement. “Although his playing days here are over, we are committed to helping him move forward.”
Paul, who never appeared in a single game for the Fighting Illini was suspended indefinitely following an arrest for vandalism, public intoxication, resisting arrest during the team’s tour of France.
The 6-foot-8 forward is the younger brother of former Illinois star guard Brandon Paul. Darius began his college career at Western Michigan, where he was named the 2013 MAC Freshman of the Year, averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He transferred to Illinois and after sitting out the 2013-14 season, per NCAA transfer rules, he was suspended for the entire 2014-15 season. Paul would spend the past season in the junior college ranks at Lamar State College-Port Arthur (Texas) before rejoining the Illinois program.
Illinois opens the season on Nov. 13 against North Florida.
Darius Paul’s second chance with the Illinois men’s basketball program has quickly turned into a second suspension. Illinois head coach John Groce announced on Saturday morning that the 6-foot-8 forward has been suspended indefinitely following a violation of team rules during the team’s current foreign trip in France.
“We have specific standards of behavior for every member of our team and when those expectations are not met, there are consequences,” Groce said in a statement. “Darius is returning home immediately and we will evaluate his status with the team following our return to Champaign.”
Paul, the younger brother of former Illini star Brandon Paul, was suspended for the entire 2014-15 season following “multiple transgressions”. Paul, the Western Michigan transfer, had redshirted the previous year due to NCAA transfer rules. Instead of missing his second consecutive season, he decided enrolled at Lamar State College-Port Arthur (Texas), where he averaged 17.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in 2014-15 before rejoining the Illini.
According to the release from the university, Paul was not playing on the foreign tour due to an injury.
Paul averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for Western Michigan during the 2012-13 season.
UPDATE: Bret Beherns of WCIA-TV in Champaign is reporting Paul was arrested on Friday for vandalism, public intoxication, resisting arrest.
With off-court issues resulting in Illinois head coach John Groce’s decision to suspend him for the entire 2014-15 season, forward Darius Paul had a decision to make: remain in Champaign and sit out a second consecutive season after transferring in from Western Michigan, or move on to another program with the hope of playing this coming year.
According to multiple reports Paul chose the latter path, signing a National Letter of Intent to join the program at Lamar State College-Port Arthur in Port Arthur, Texas. Paul, the younger brother of former Illinois guard Brandon Paul, will have two years of Division I eligibility following the 2014-15 season as he played just one year at Western Michigan.
In that season Paul was a productive player for the Broncos, averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and earning MAC Freshman of the Year honors. Given that production Paul was expected to contribute this season for Illinois, whose most experienced front court player is rising senior Nnanna Egwu.
Illinois also returns sophomores Maverick Morgan and Austin Colbert, with Leron Black and Michael Finke joining the program this summer.
One day after it was announced that he would be suspended for the entire 2014-15 season, Illinois sophomore forward Darius Paul pleaded guilty to underage drinking in Champaign (Ill.) County Circuit Court. Paul’s charge of obstructing an officer was dropped as part of a plea agreement, and his sentence is a year of court supervision and a $325 fine.
While the legal issue that served as the final straw for head coach John Groce is now resolved, according to the Chicago Tribune it also provided insight into what the “multiple transgressions” that led to the decision to suspend Paul were.
Paul admitted to police after his arrest that he had been drinking. He also told the police that he had failed two drug tests administered by the team in the fall after using marijuana, Beckett said.
According to the Tribune the next step for the family is to discuss what Paul will do having already sat out one season following his transfer from Western Michigan. The suspension would mean that Paul would sit out a second consecutive season.
After averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a freshman at Western Michigan in 2012-13 forward Darius Paul made the decision to transfer to Illinois, where his older brother Brandon enjoyed a solid four-year career. And after sitting out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules, the younger Paul was expected to contribute for head coach John Groce in the upcoming 2014-15 campaign.
Unfortunately for Paul issues away from the court have resulted in Groce deciding to suspend the 6-foot-8 forward for the entire 2014-15 season, with the school announcing the decision Tuesday afternoon.
“After a thorough review of Darius’ year, which includes multiple transgressions, I am suspending Darius from all team-related activities for the entire 2014-15 season,” Groce said in a statement. “As head coach, my concerns are always what is best for the University of Illinois, what is best for the men’s basketball program, and what is best for our student-athletes as people. I feel this penalty is necessary to help Darius as a person. We will continue to support him through this process.”
Paul was arrested on charges of underage drinking and resisting a police officer on April 22, and according to the Chicago Tribune his next hearing in relation to the matter is on Friday. However while Groce noted “multiple transgressions” in the announcement that Paul has been suspended, no particular incident was cited as the reason for the disciplinary action.
Losing Paul hurts a front court that won’t be the most experienced group in 2014-15, with rising senior Nnanna Egwu being the lone returnee who saw significant playing time last season. Maverick Morgan played in all 35 games as a freshman but averaged just 7.1 minutes per contest, and fellow sophomore Austin Colbert played in 22 games (5.5 mpg).
In the front court Illinois adds Leron Black and Michael Finke this summer, with the former ranking among the nation’s best prospects. In total the Fighting Illini will have three newcomers, with Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby joining a backcourt led by rising seniors Rayvonte Rice and Tracy Abrams.
Darius Paul, a redshirt transfer from Western Michigan and the younger brother of former Illinois star Brandon Paul, was arrested early Tuesday morning for underage drinking and resisting arrest.
The Champagne News-Gazette was the first to report the arrest.
Paul, who is 20, ran from police when they spotted him and another man walking across a parking lot at 3:20 a.m., the report said. an officer eventually tackled Paul outside his apartment building, where he admitted that he had been drinking.
Both of the charges against Paul are misdemeanors with maximum penalties of 364 days in jail.
Paul averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 boards at WMU as a freshman in 2012-2013 before transferring.