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.