OAKLAND — After winning the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Eric Paschall hoisted the men’s basketball trophy in triumph after knocking out Michigan. On that losing side just happened to be Jordan Poole, now Paschall’s fellow Golden State Warriors draftee.
“Oh, I’m going to hold that over him forever.” Paschall said as he took a friendly jab at Poole from across the Warriors’ practice facility on Monday. “Me and Jordan never want to have this conversation. Right Jordan?”
It’s that same competitive spirit that prompted the Warriors to select Paschall with the 41st overall pick in the NBA Draft last Thursday. It’s also what’s inspired him to have his eyes set on the Las Vegas Summer League trophy next week, and what could serve as the foundation for his long-term success.
“I definitely want to play out there but I want to win the championship,” said Paschall. “Since we’re going out there and everyone is competitive, I want to win the championship.”
Paschall is no stranger to championship-level basketball. His first shot at a title came during sophomore year at Dobbs Ferry High School in New York, when he averaged 26 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Eagles to a Section 1 final in 2013.
During his senior year at St. Thomas More School, a preparatory high school in Oakdale, Conn., he also helped lead his team to the National Prep School Championship game in 2014 as a starter.
After spending a year at Fordham, where he started in all 27 games and averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and one assist per game, Paschall left for Villanova, transferring to play the remainder of his three seasons of eligibility under head coach Jay Wright.
“I wasn’t always the starter, and you’ve just got to find a way to make an impact in any way you can even if that’s on or off the court,” Paschall said.
After only starting in eight games his sophomore – winning a national championship as a bench player in the process — Paschall earned a starting job the next season, where he tripled his assist output and increased his shooting percentage to 53%, including 35% from 3-point range.
“I’m a competitor. If we played a game of checkers, I want to win. If we play Fortnite, I want to win. If we play NBA 2k, I want to win. If we play Uno, I want to win,” Paschall said. “That’s just how I am.”
That competitiveness even carried over into the NBA Draft. Paschall was unhappy with where he was drafted; in his eyes, he felt like his talent was greater than many of those who were taken before him. Similar to his new teammate Draymond Green — picked 35th overall in the 2012 — Paschall can remember each of the players drafted ahead of him. The similarities don’t end there, though.
Like Green, the 6-foot-7, 255-pounder is big and versatile enough to make an early impact, especially if he can prove he can guard the five.
“I feel like my strong suit is attacking the basket and being aggressive,” Paschall said. “Defensively, being able to guard multiple positions. But just offensively, I’m trying to get better at shooting the three-ball. I know that’s something that’s very important in the Warriors’ offense — being able to space the floor.”
Paschall knows that he has plenty of room to grow if he wants to be a part of a championship-level team at the NBA level, and he’s excited to grow under Green’s tutelage.
“I know that to win a championship, you have to have a great culture,” Paschall said. “The locker room means a lot to me. I mean, every team has it’s ups and downs but as long as you guys are together on the court, and you can get past it, it all works out in the end.”
During the introductory press conference for Paschall, Poole and Alen Smailagic, who were all selected by Golden State during Thursday night’s draft, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said that he looks forward to seeing all of the draftees continue to improve, considering that none of them have done anything at the NBA level yet.
That spoke to Paschall.
“That’s what I’m saying with Summer League,” Paschall said. “I know some people are just going to be happy to be there. I want to be there to win. I want to win it because we’re here and there’s a championship to win. Let’s win it.”