Fordham's Eric Paschall Takes His Talents to the Bronx

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Fordham's Eric Paschall Takes His Talents to the Bronx
Photo: Charles Costello

Eric Paschall has arrived.

Fordham's prized recruit is on the Rose Hill campus and has begun participating in the Rams' summer workouts, preparing for what is a highly anticipated freshman season.

At Fordham's workout on Tuesday, just days into his college career, Paschall seemed to fit right in. 

"Everything's going well," he said. "The coaches are doing a great job preparing us for the season.

"I really like it here. I think we have great chemistry already. I think we'll have a successful season."

Paschall, a native of Dobbs Ferry, New York, spent his senior season of high school at Connecticut's St. Thomas More Prep. He said that transferring to the New England school helped prepare him for college.  

"Coming from St. Thomas More, transferring for my senior year, it helped me a lot," he said. "I don't think coming from Dobbs Ferry would have helped me as much. Playing in that league really helped me prepare for this season."

Paschall was named the New England Prep Player of the Year last season, quite an accomplishment for a senior.

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora has pointed out that, typically, the award has gone to post-grad players, saying "that puts [Paschall] in rarefied air."

Pecora has also said he expects Paschall, who is 6'6" with incredible athleticism and talent, to be a starter next season and believes his transition to the college game will be a smooth one.

"Coming from prep school, I'm kind of ready for it," Paschall said, echoing his coach's sentiments.

Paschall certainly made a name for himself prior to his time at St. Thomas More. In his junior season at Dobbs Ferry High School, he averaged 26.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

The awards—Class B Player of the Year and Westchester County's Mr. Basketball—came pouring in.

As a senior, it only got better for Paschall.

"I accomplished way more than I thought [I would]," he said about his senior season. "I didn't think I was going to win the NEPSAC (New England Preparatory School Athletic Council) Player of the Year [award].

"I just worked hard during the season, did what I had to, listened to my coaches and magically it happened. That was a great honor."

Paschall's next challenge will be his biggest. For 19 years, Fordham has struggled in the Atlantic 10, a conference that continues to get better.

It's not all on his shoulders, but Paschall understands the expectations. He knows that for Fordham to start winning more games, he'll have to be every bit the player scouts and coaches say he is.

Still, this is a young man who's grounded, and that's been evident in everything he's said and done since he made the announcement a year-and-a-half ago that he'd be taking his talents to the Bronx.

"I think it puts a lot of pressure on me," he said about the expectations. "I just don't want to disappoint my family and the coaches. I just want to come in here, work hard and hopefully get the results."

How did Fordham land such a talent? With better programs in bigger conferences recruiting him, Paschall said the difference was the Fordham coaching staff.

"All the coaches here are great," he said. "They take great care of the kids. That's what my parents and I really thought about. They looked at me as more than a basketball player. They looked at me as a person too. That really made me a lot more comfortable coming here."

Due in large part to Paschall, for the first time in a long time, there's a sense of optimism at Rose Hill. Through their commitment to recruiting and player development, the Rams appear to be positioned to make a move up in the standings.

Of course, that's been said before. But this time around, the talent seems to be settling into place.

"I think this year we'll have a lot of talent on the floor," Paschall said. 

"Hopefully finish top five or six in our conference," he added. "I know we have a lot of talent here. We have to work hard for that spot. The A-10's not an easy conference, so we're going to have to work hard and get our bodies prepared for it."

That's already started to happen with the beginning of the summer workouts. Almost the entire team is on campus, taking classes and participating in the workouts.

Paschall is excited to be a part of it. After all, what could be better than being the star player on a college team that plays in your backyard?

"I like it," Paschall said about the school. "It's in the Bronx and it's in New York. There's nothing better than that."

Except for winning. Paschall is here to do that too.

 

Quotations in this article were obtained firsthand.

Charles Costello covers the Fordham Rams for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @CFCostello.

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