Christopher Emmanuel Paul (born May 6, 1985, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays point guard for the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA.
Paul played at West Forsyth High School, where he was a 2003 McDonald's All-American and was named North Carolina's Mr. Basketball for 2003 by the Charlotte Observer. Paul averaged 30.8 points, 8.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.0 steals per game as a senior in leading his team to a 27-3 record and the Class 4A Eastern Regional finals. While in a game during high school, Paul scored 61 points in honor of his grandfather, who in 2002 was beaten to death in his own carport during a robbery; one point for every year his grandfather lived. When Paul reached the 61-point mark, he intentionally missed a free throw, then took himself out of the game even though the state high school scoring record of 67 points was well within reach.
Paul attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He played there for two years leading the Demon Deacons to two NCAA Tournaments, and one sweet sixteen appearance. In his sophomore year he was named a Consensus First Team All-American. Chris had also received the ACC Rookie of the Year as well as ACC All-Defensive Team honors during his play at Wake Forest. He left Wake Forest with records near the top of nearly every offensive category.
Rookie Season Paul was selected fourth overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft. In his first season, he led all rookies in points, assists, steals, and minutes, earning him the 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He was also the only unanimous selection to the 2005-06 NBA All Rookie First Team and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month in the 2005-06 season becoming only the second player to do so since Carmelo Anthony in 2003. After the season, Paul won the ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete. Chris Paul recorded his first triple-double on April 2, 2006 against the Toronto Raptors with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.
2006-2007 During his sophomore season, Paul led the team in assists, steals and total points and was a member of the sophomore squad at the 2007 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam at the NBA's All-Star Weekend. He 17.3 points and 8.9 assists a game but only played in 64 games out of the season.