Top basketball players of the century: Boys No. 2, Warren's Brandon Paul
It happened every day.
During practices, during games. Every day.
Almost like clockwork, former Warren boys basketball coach Chuck Ramsey would turn to his assistants and say, "Did you see that?"
"That" was something spectacular that former Warren star Brandon Paul would do: a mean crossover, an acrobatic move, a high-flying dunk.
"I mean, it was every single day with Brandon," Ramsey said. "He would make some type of incredible play that you had never seen before and likely would never see again from anyone. All the coaches would talk about it after, like, 'Did you see what he did today? Do you remember that play?' Brandon had this elite athleticism. He was a superior athlete, had great body control and he worked so hard at his game. He got better very year. He was incredible."
Paul, a 6-foot-4 guard, left Warren as one of the best players in the storied program's history and was named the 2009 Illinois Mr. Basketball. He went on to become an impact player at Illinois before a stint in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs and a long-running career of international basketball overseas, which is still ongoing.
"Brandon was spectacular but he was also productive," Ramsey said. "These days, you see spectacular a lot. Guys will go out and get an amazing dunk, but they'll end up with 8 points in the game. Brandon was spectacular but he was also productive and efficient and was a team player. He did a lot of things. He had a really good shooting percentage, he got his teammates involved, he got to the free-throw line a lot."
One of Paul's most memorable trips to the free-throw line was in the 2009 sectional championship against Waukegan at Waukegan's legendary old East Campus gym.
Warren was down by 2 points with about 5 seconds remaining when Paul hit three straight free throws under intense pressure while in front of a crazy, deafening crowd. It set the stage for what seemed like a dramatic Warren victory.
But Waukegan star Jereme Richmond got the inbounds pass and then launched a half-court shot at the buzzer that hit nothing but net. That propelled the Bulldogs to the state finals that year.
Paul averaged 21 points per game his senior year and went on to become only the second player in Illinois program history to record 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals in a career.
Paul spent the 2017-18 season with the San Antonio Spurs before being waived in July of 2018.
Now 29, Paul signed a two-year deal in 2019 with the Greek EuroLeague club Olympiacos.