Villanova forward Eric Paschall had a lot to live up to this season. After the Wildcats stormed their way to the 2018 National Championship, they lost Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Final Four MVP Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman to the NBA.
Subsequently, the senior no longer could share the load as much. Alongside guard Phil Booth, he is the heart of a team that figures to hold a decent seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2 weeks.
The 6-foot-8, 255-pounder has averaged 16.6 points a game (second to Booth) with a 53.2 effective field goal percentage (including 36 percent from behind the arc). He adds 6 boards and 2.1 assists per contest.
Entering Saturday afternoon’s trip to Seton Hall (12 p.m. EST, FOX), he’s looking to boost his draft stock by building momentum for nationally-televised tournament time. At the moment, his projections vary wildly from the first round to an undrafted free agent.
Let’s take a dive into his prognostications, as well as mock drafts and big boards.
Eric Paschall NBA Draft Projections & Mock Draft
The most recent mock draft from Rob Dauster of NBC Sports fits Paschall in the first round as the No. 15 pick. Dauster labels him as a potentially “useful rotation player” for a playoff contender.
I expect Paschall to drop well beyond this range, but I have a hard time envisioning a world where he doesn’t end up being a useful NBA rotation player and someone that can contribute to a playoff team. Today. He’s a chiseled 6-foot-8, he’s an explosive athlete, he can defend on the perimeter and, playing in that Villanova offense, he’s proven he can accept a role and be a guy that attacks closeouts. Betting on him with a top 20 pick means betting that his jumper can extend out to the NBA three-point line, and that’s a bet I’m willing to take.
Our own Jon Adams left him off his most recent NBA Mock Draft. Jeremy Woo of SI.com lists him as the No. 46 overall prospect on his mock draft. There, he states Paschall will help five-out offenses spread out defenses.
Paschall projects as a potentially strong role player provided his three-point shooting holds up. His toughness, mobility and motor could play as a smaller stretch four within the right system, particularly if his effort on the glass becomes more consistent. Paschall struggles to create his own shot efficiently, particularly against length, but factoring past and present context, he primarily needs to catch-and-shoot and take care of the little things to provide value. He’ll be especially appealing to teams who favor going five-out and spreading the floor.
Eric Paschall NBA Draft Big Board Rankings
Aran Smith’s NBA Draft Net pegs Paschall as the No. 41 overall prospect per Smith’s Top-100. This would have him going as some lottery team’s second option.
ESPN’s Draft Board has him as the No. 9 power forward and No. 31 player overall. He’s called a “chiseled” and “explosive.”
– Has a chiseled 260-pound frame and explosive athleticism. Powerful but highly coordinated.
– Much improved outside shooter. Hit 35 of 76 3-point attempts (46 percent) over the final 25 games of last season for Villanova and 81 percent of his free throws overall.
– Key cog on a national championship team. Plays with impressive toughness and aggressiveness. Real mismatch with his ability to attack slower big men off the bounce, knock down open shots, switch onto guards on the perimeter and bring tremendous intensity and physicality on every possession.
– Not very tall or long for someone who sees significant time at the center position.
– Career 32 percent 3-point shooter at the college level. Shoots on the way down at times. Needs to prove he can stretch his jumper out to the NBA 3-point line and continue to be consistent in a bigger role.
– At his best playing a compact role alongside better players. Feel for the game is average. Underwhelming rebounder over the course of his career. Fifth-year senior — oldest player currently projected to be drafted.
Basically, Paschall is a winner with a well-maintained physique and 3-point range. That makes him an excellent frontcourt alternative to a franchise seeking positional flexibility.