Illinois Fighting Illini: Western Michigan Forward Darius Paul Transfers

By John Engel
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Western Michigan freshman forward Darius Paul announced, via Twitter on Saturday, that he will transfer to Illinois to follow his older brother Brandon.

Brandon Paul recently played his senior season for the Fighting Illini, and Darius will be forced to miss a full season under NCAA rules.

Though Paul will have to sit out a full season, Illinois will be happy to wait. Paul was named the 2013 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, and started 33 games and averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds. Paul is an Illinois native, and will be playing in his home state for the first time since being named second-team All-State by the Chicago Tribune in 2012.

Paul was in high demand after expressing his desire to transfer after a coaching change at Western Michigan, and his need to play at a higher level. He received offers from Iowa StateFloridaMarquetteMiami (Fla.)MissouriNebraska and Nevada in addition to Illinois.

Moving from the MAC to the Big Ten will certainly be a change for Paul. But if the 6-foot-8 forward plays anything like his brother, he should have three strong seasons for Illinois. Brandon started 89 games in four years with the Fighting Illini and was voted an All-Big Ten third-team selection in his junior and senior seasons.

Illinois has made a significant push to sign well-known transfers since the conclusion of this season, adding three experienced recruits — Jon Ekey of Illinois State and Aaron Cosby of Seton Hall were also signed.

The Fighting Illini are fighting to stay relevent in the ever-competitive Big Ten, and have the No. 18 ranked 2013 recruiting class according to ESPN.

John Engel is a Pac-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.

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