For the second time, forward Darius Paul has been suspended from the University of Illinois basketball team.
Paul was suspended by coach John Groce and sent home immediately from France, where the team is playing four exhibition games on a tour that includes games in Belgium and the Netherlands.
“Darius has been suspended indefinitely after violating team rules during our trip,” Groce said in university statement released Saturday from Deauville, France.
“We have specific standards of behavior for every member of our team and when those expectations are not met, there are consequences. Darius is returning home immediately and we will evaluate his status with the team following our return to Champaign.”
Illinois returns to Champaign on Tuesday.
This is likely the end of Illinois’ three-season investment in Paul.
He is the brother of former Illini MVP Brandon Paul. He was the freshman of the year in the Mid-American Conference while playing at Western Michigan and then transferred to Illinois.
Paul practiced with the Illini but sat out the 2013-14 season under NCAA transfer rules. He was arrested in April 2014 in Champaign for resisting a police officer and underage drinking.
That resulted in Paul’s first suspension. He left the university, underwent a substance abuse program operated by former NBA player John Lucas and spent the 2014-15 season playing for Lamar State-Port Arthur in Texas, where he led the team in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and assists.
He transferred back to Illinois where Groce had said he felt Paul was on the right path in his personal life.
Paul was not playing in France while recovering from shoulder surgery and he was not scheduled to return to action until the team began its pre-season practices around the start of October.
Paul, a 6-8 forward and potential backup at center, was projected as a candidate to start.
This episode follows an Achilles tendon tear that will keep protected starting point guard Tracy Abrams off the court all season.
Another player viewed as a potential key contributor, freshman combo guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, is on the Europe trip but is not playing because of a stress fracture in his lower left leg.
The coaching staff is concerned about Coleman-Lands’ situation and has not ruled out the possibility that he won’t be ready to go when the season begins in November. A decision on his status is expected to be made in September.
This comes after Illinois finished the 2014-15 season with a 19-14 record, missing the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
Groce suspended Aaron Cosby and Rayvonte Rice last season for an incident that happened on a road trip to Minnesota. Cosby ended up leaving the program. Rice returned to action and was named the team’s co-outstanding player along with fellow senior Nnanna Egwu.