Villanova basketball alum Eric Paschall was named as All-Rookie First Team after a dominant debut in the league.
Paschall was drafted as the 41st pick in the 2019 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, after transferring to Villanova from Fordam University.
In his senior season at Villanova, Paschall earned first-team all-Big East honors, averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, all the while showcasing his elite athleticism.
The entire basketball community did not agree on his soon to be successful career. Paschall recieved the honor of All-Rookie First Team, the highest honor for an NBA rookie other than Rookie of the Year. He joins Wali Jones (1964-65), Kerry Kittles (1996-97), Tim Thomas (1997-98) and Randy Foye (2006-07), as the only Villanova basketball alums to make the All-Rookie First Team.
Paschall marks the latest success story of recent Villanova basketball alums in the NBA, joining Ryan Arcidiacono (Bulls), Josh Hart (Pelicans), Mikal Bridges (Suns), Donte DiVincenzo (Bucks), Omari Spellman (Timberwolves) and Jalen Brunson (Mavericks) in the league. Saddiq Bey will join that group in a matter of months, as he looks to be drafted in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.
When Paschall was drafted, Golden State was coming off its fifth straight NBA Finals experience. Although Kevin Durant had left in free agency, the team was still looking at another deep playoff run, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell leading the way. Paschall was looking at a role on the team, but it was not likely that he would be making any serious plays.
The outlook for the Warriors in 2019-20 drastically changed following numerous injuries and trades. Russell, Curry and Green were out for much of the season, and Thompson was held out for the entirety of the season.
These changes allowed Paschall to have an expanded role, receiving 27.6 minutes per game. In those minutes, he showcased himself as a player who was very deserving of the All-Rookie first-team honors.
Paschall averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, ranking fourth and sixth among rookies in points and rebounds per game, respectively.
It didn’t take long for him to make his mark in the NBA. Arguably his best game of the season came in a nine-point win over Portland on Nov. 4, when he had season highs in points and rebounds, with 34 and 13, respectively. Paschall is one of three rookies to have multiple 30 point games and one of three rookies to have multiple 20-10 (points-rebounds) games.
Paschall joined fellow promising young players Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn, Brandon Clarke and Zion Williamson on the first team.
Paschall is the first Warriors first-team selection since Harrison Barnes for the 2012-2013 season. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said in an interview with NBCSports, “[Paschall] had a great rookie season, did a lot of really good things.” Kerr continued by commenting that Paschall could develop into a P.J. Tucker-type of player.
Head Coach Jay Wright congratulated Paschall in a letter on behalf of Villanova, stating among other things that, “Your commitment, passion and dedication helped you rise to meet the challenge of transitioning to the next level, and we can’t wait to see where it takes you in 2020-21 and beyond!”
Paschall will look to play a significant role on next season’s Golden State squad, which will once again have championship aspirations.