Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets is quickly becoming a household name. Though he’s not yet 23, the 6-foot tall guard, who played college ball at Wake Forest (in his hometown), is being lauded for his grace on the court. “He’s is already a top player in the league,” Coach Mark Iavaroni of the Memphis Grizzlies recently said. Iavaroni referred to Paul as a “real prize.”

As of last month, Paul – who is fondly referred to as CP3 (his jersey number is 3) – already scored 40 or more points in at least two games. In December, our readers’ “favorite Hornets player” was voted as the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month, because he averaged 24.5 points, 10.4 assists and a league high of three steals in guiding the Hornets to a Southwest Division best 9-5 mark of that month.

What’s next? Paul will extend his influence beyond the court. He’ll be narrating the upcoming film, Black Magic, (about former NBS standout Earl “The Pearl” Monroe) along with Samuel L. Jackson and Wynton Marsalis, which will be shown on ESPN next month. Paul also is an avid bowler who serves as the national spokesperson for the U.S. Bowling Congress and holds an annual “Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend” in his hometown, which raises money for local charities. Whether he’s scoring or striking, Chris Paul is clearly a winner and one to watch as the Hornets make a major comeback after a season that was split between Oklahoma City and New Orleans.