After a year of sitting, and watching his teammates take home a national championship, Fordham transfer Eric Paschall finally gets to suit up for Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats .
After taking home Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year honors in 2014-2015, the 6’7, 260-pound Paschall decided it was time to seek greener pastures. The Small Forward-Power Forward tweener chose the ‘Cats over Kansas, Florida, and fellow Big East foe Providence. so what can he bring to an already deep Wildcat squad?
Paschall is a bit of a mystery, as his counting stats were good at Fordham but he wasn’t particularly efficient. As a freshman, he averaged a hair under 16 points-per-game but shot just 41 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc. While he was efficient from the line, shooting 79 percent from the stripe, Paschall often initiated his own offense and was allowed to be very ball dominant under then-head coach Tom Pecora. Following the season, Pecora got the boot and Paschall soon followed him out the door.
The 'Nova newcomer had solid rebounding stats, at 5.5 per contest, but could see those numbers drop significantly in 2016 if he’s used more at the three. Pascall will have to compete for playing time with fellow wing players, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo, who is coming off a redshirt season himself. It’s also possible Wright elects to go four-out, one-in as he’s accustomed to and play Paschall at the four where he would likely be spelling presumptive starting four Kris Jenkins.
Paschall could very well have a huge impact for the Wildcats if he’s able to up his three point percentage to somewhere north of 35 percent, but he could also be often-relegated to the bench with Jay Wright’s plethora of talent at the small forward position. Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins are assuredly starters and you can likely add Omari Spellman to that list if he gets his eligibility sorted out.
That would leave one spot in the starting lineup open. Right now, Bridges is the presumptive favorite to fill that spot at the three. Phil Booth could also start at shooting guard and push Hart to the three, though this may cause some match up problems defensively. Wright could also go big, something he’s rarely done before, and play Jenkins at Small Forward with Darryl Reynolds at the four and Spellman at Center. Regardless, there’s likely one opportunity for Paschall to crack the starting lineup to begin the season. If he’s coming off the bench, the Nova second unit of Booth, DiCincenzo, Paschall, Delaney, Reynolds could well be the best in the nation.
In the meantime, enjoy watching Paschall cook in his rookie season for Fordham and tell us who you think Wright rolls out as a starting five for the defending national champs’ opener in November.