SAN FRANCISCO – Eric Paschall was a long walk from the Pacific Ocean when he announced his presence in the NBA, but it was loud enough to be heard around the league.
Scoring 34 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in his seventh NBA game put Paschall on the scouting report of every team. A few hours later, he was trending on social media as a Rookie of the Year candidate. A few days later, he was a guest on ESPN in its Los Angeles studio.
Two months later, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Villanova product is coming off a three-week stretch the likes of which he hopes to never again experience. Paschall’s scoring and efficiency were down, and body aches were up.
He says he feels great again. He has shown signs of recovery in the first two games in 2020.
Now 32 games into his career, the 23-year-old agreed to spend a few minutes discussing NBA life, his funniest teammate, his favorite music, his migration from the East Coast to the Bay Area and much more.
NBC Sports Bay Area: The draft was about six months ago. What has the NBA life been like?
Eric Paschall: I was telling my friends about it. I was saying it’s kind of like college, but with a lot more money. I’ve been out of my house for like six years, going to St. Thomas More (prep school) for a year and then I did five years in college. I’m kind of used to living on my own. My parents aren’t used to me being around the house anyway. It’s just a lot more money now, a lot more attention and a lot more games. I just stayed myself, doing what I did to get here.
How is the travel?
It’s kind of similar to Villanova. We would stay at the Ritz-Carlton or the J.W. Marriott, nice places like that I’m kind of used to it. But we do a great job of planning our travel schedule.
Colleges have three or four or five coaches. The Warriors this season have 10. What’s that like dealing with so many coaches?
It’s great. You get different points of view, a lot of different perspectives on the game. You always have that one coach that you lean on and work out with. But everybody else is great to have around because everybody is willing to help, making sure we all get better together.
Who do you lean on the most?
My man Theo (Robertson). That’s my man. I do all my workouts with him. I’m real cool with him. That’s my guy.
Has Theo pulled up any clips of him when he played at Cal?
Nah. But I heard he was a hell of a player, though.
Has anything, or anyone, surprised you so far this season?
Not really. It’s pretty much everything that I’d seen on TV, and everything I’d heard, is true. I like it. To be able to hold my own in the NBA is really a blessing.
How about the speed of the game?
I noticed that in preseason. It’s fast. But when the season started, it slowed down a little bit for me. I found my spots where I can score, figured out where I could make plays defensively.
What part of your game are most pleased with?
Ahh, I would say my 3-point shot is starting to come along. Finally. It’s about being confident while shooting it. I feel like it’s repetition and confidence. Confidence is a big factor. I have a lot more confidence in my jumper than I did earlier.
What aspects are you most looking to improve?
Definitely my playmaking and rebounding. Playmaking, because now that everybody knows I can score, everybody will collapse. I can get other people good shots. And then just rebounding the ball more.
Who is your best-dressed teammate?
I wear sweats. So, I’d have to say Glenn (Robinson III) or Alec (Burks). Either Glenn or A.B.
Which of your teammates is the funniest?
Omari Spellman. Omari Spellman. That man is hilarious. Y’all have no idea. No idea.
Is he trying to be funny?
No. And that’s the funniest part. O is hilarious. It’s just him. His actions, what he says, what he does. We were together two years at Villanova, so I knew O was a funny dude. He was like that there, and it’s the same now. That’s just who he is.
Have you gotten accustomed to the Bay Area?
Not really. But I’m such a homebody (He lives in San Francisco, not far from Chase Center). I barely have seen what the Bay Area is about. From what I’ve seen, everybody is a lot nicer.
Have you checked out Oakland and the East Bay?
I was over their earlier, before we moved into Chase Center. But I haven’t been over there since the season started. Maybe at some point.
You really are a homebody. But you have some go-to restaurants, right?
I don’t go out to eat that often. But I found a steakhouse that I really like. Niku Steakhouse. It’s really good. But that’s about it.
You can have any four of five items to eat every day. What would they be?
Seafood. Shrimp, crab, lobster, fish. All of it. Now I’m half Liberian, so my sister makes something called Palm Butter. It’s so fire. It’s like (a thick stew). You eat it with rice. It’s so good. That, and then my sister’s Jollof rice. It’s another African dish. It’s kind of like jambalaya. And then my mom’s ... she’s got so many dishes. I don’t want to make her mad. Can I just say my mom’s Thanksgiving spread? I’d eat that every day.
Photo via USATSI
I know you’re into video games and music. How into them are you?
Music is big. That’s me. A lot of people don’t know that. The only ones that really know that is D-Lee (Damion Lee) and our strength coach, Carl (Bergstrom). They both know I’m huge on music.
Do you stay with hip-hop, or do you expand into different types?
I just like good music. I’m the youngest in my family and I have three older sisters, so my dad and me would take road trips. And all we would listen to was his old music because that’s what he wanted to listen to. Old-school R&B, soul. Like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Temptations, Stevie Wonder. Stuff like that.
OK. You can listen to only 10 albums over the next two years. What you taking?
Ten! Dammmmn. That’s kind of a tight limitation. But OK. My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy by Kanye. Watch the Throne (Jay-Z, Kanye West). 2014 Forest Hills Drive (J. Cole). The Black Album (Jay-Z). What’s Frank Ocean’s most recent? Umm, yeah, Blonde. That album is so fire. What’s an R&B album I really like. What’s the Stevie Wonder joint?
You mean the double album classic?
Songs in the Key of Life?
Yeah. Yes! That for sure. I have four more. I might do a James Brown album. Oh my God. Jazmine Sullivan. It’s called (Fearless). That album is fire. And Lauryn Hill (Miseducation of Lauryn Hill). Wow. One more? Dang. This is tough. Biggie. Ready to Die.
I’m sorry, but I ain’t putting 2Pac on there. Not doing it. I know the Bay Area don’t like that I’m not really into 2Pac. If I had one more, it would be At. Long. Last. A$AP Rocky.
I’m a big Kendrick fan. Arrghh! You’re making this too difficult. This is not fair. I was going to say good kid, m.A.A.d city or To Pimp a Butterfly. But ... 10 is too little. I want to put Damn on there. I want to put some Drake in there. Ten is not enough. I need like 25.
Is there a part of you that wants to be a musician?
I would want to start making beats. I really got into beats at Nike Academy, I became really good friends with (hip-hop producer) 9th Wonder. We’ve kept in contact. The beat he did to Threat to Society with 2 Chainz, that beat is so tough. I just want to know how he puts it together. I’m a real big fan of beats.
Can you sing?