Illini star Brandon Paul breaks jaw in open gym session

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Illini guard Brandon Paul will have to carry the load for Illinois college basketball next season. Especially now that Meyers Leonard is gone to the NBA (most likely the Milwaukee Bucks with the #12 pick). BP dropped 43 in the season’s biggest win over Final Four team Ohio State, but he was still largely inconsistent, and committed way too many turnovers.

Paul will need to be the go-to guy in new coach John Groce’s first season. And his offseason preparing for that role just suffered a major setback.

From BTN:

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Illini C Meyers Leonard declares for NBA Draft; tough break for John Groce

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The first season for new Illini head coach John Groce just got a lot tougher. He’ll be without his big 7 foot post presence in Center Meyers Leonard, who declared for the NBA Draft.

His sounds-like-it-tested-well-with-focus-groups statement regarding the matter:

“This was a very difficult decision because I love the University of Illinois. But I feel the timing is right for me to follow my dream of playing in the NBA and having the opportunity to provide for my mom and family. I want to thank everyone in the Illini program for their support these past two years. It starts with Coach Weber, who has always believed in me.

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Illini Meyers Leonard and Brandon Paul testing NBA Draft waters

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The 2011-12 Illinois Fighting Illini alpha dog (Brandon Paul) and second banana (Meyers Leonard)  have submitted their names to the NBA’s undergraduate advisory committee to receive feedback on their draft stock. Therefore, they will have the chance to receive feedback from NBA scouts on their game, but still retain the ability to return to school next season.

I think I know what they’ll hear.

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