A bit of surprising news tonight: Dobbs Ferry junior Eric Paschall has given his verbal commitment to Fordham University.
The 6-foot-6 swingman announced his commitment on his Twitter account Thursday night. It brought a sudden and somewhat abrupt end to the recruitment of the area’s hottest prospect, a player who became just the fourth Section 1 player to earn the coveted “Mr. Basketball” prize this season and who, at 16, seemed to have almost endless options for his future.
Paschall earned all-section honors as a sophomore and helped New York-based “The City” win an AAU National Championship last summer. He returned to average a Section 1-best 26.0 points per game as well as 11.2 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game as a junior.
Before giving his verbal commitment, Paschall had already amassed 10 offers, many of them before the high school season began. They included: Fordham, West Virginia, Providence, Iona, Radford, George Mason, Northwestern, VCU, Quinnipiac, and Manhattan. Although his son could have waited until the early signing period in November to commitment, Juan Paschall said 10 was plenty.
“If he never got another offer, Eric would be just fine,” the elder Paschall said. “There’s no need to get romanced.”
“I guess I’m surprised, but I am and I’m not,” said Dobbs Ferry coach Scott Patrillo, who has coached Paschall since he was a freshman on varsity. “It goes both ways. I knew Fordham was always high on the list.”
Indeed, Fordham had more than enough to lure Paschall and placate his family. They visited the Rose Hill Campus on four or five occasions and developed a comfortable relationship with head coach Tom Pecora and assistant coach Tom Parrotta, a Stepinac graduate and former head coach at Canisius.
Juan Paschall admitted the family’s comfort factor with the coaching staff and the school’s close proximity to home were major positives, particularly in light of Mike Rice situation at Rutgers.
“We always wanted to keep him relatively close to home,” Paschall said. “The Atlantic-10 is a great conference. He can get a great education at Fordham. He’s staying close to home and we get the best of basketball as well as academics. I’m happy with everything they had at Fordham.”
The family also favored Fordham for its relatively small student body, which is reminiscent of Dobbs Ferry, a tiny school district compared to those that produce the vast majority of Division I players.
“He’s from a small school and a small town in Dobbs Ferry. He doesn’t want to get lost,” Juan Paschall said. “Fordham will give him what he needs. They take care of their people.”
The early commitment seemed to erase all talk of Paschall leaving his hometown, reclassifying and enrolling in a prep school for the Class of 2015. His late birthdate and outsized presence at a small school left the family to consider all options, something Paschall and his father both indicated during his junior season.
Now, they are committing to finishing with the Eagles. Paschall’s presence would make his team an instant favorite in Class B next season. He would also be an overwhelming favorite to win “Mr. Basketball” again.
“It’s fair to say that he will be at Dobbs Ferry next year,” Juan Paschall said.
“We’re pretty sure that’s what going to happen,” Patrillo said. “From every indication we’ve been given, Eric is going to be back at Dobbs Ferry next year.”