SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Eric Paschall and Donovan Mitchell grew up as neighbors in New York, playing AAU basketball together.
Now, the best friends could be reunited in the NBA.
Paschall. who played the last three years at Villanova, was one of six players that worked out for the Jazz on Tuesday, and says despite being an NBA star, Mitchell’s personality hasn’t changed a bit.
“He’s the same person he is now,” Paschall said. “If you meet Donovan, he’s the same exact person. Growing up, he stayed the same, stayed humble. He blew up out here, and he’s still the same dude. Me and him still talk all the time”
In fact, Mitchell gave Paschall some words of advice before his workout with the Jazz.
“He just said go do whatever you do,” said Paschall, who averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Wildcats last season. “He believes in me. Me and him played together for so many years. He knows my game and I know his game. He just gives me that confidence just to go play.”
Obviously it would be great to play with his childhood friend again in the NBA, but Paschall, a 6-8, 255-pound forward who can shoot 3-pointers, says he’d fit in nicely with the entire Jazz organization.
“I feel like I would fit in very well,” Paschall said. “I know they’re a defensive oriented team. I know they pride themselves on that. I’ve been around the guys and I just like the culture, I mean, everybody is cool. Of course, Donovan is here, so that would be cool. But, I’m kind of sick of Donovan. No, I’m just playing.”
“He’s a good shooter,” said Jazz Vice President of Player Personnel Walt Perrin. “He’s got a body that he can play the four, small-ball four with his strength.”
While Mitchell has NBA playoff experience, Paschall won a national title at Villanova in 2018. That is something that makes Mitchell a little jealous.
“He actually [is],” Paschall said. “He’s always like, ‘I wish I won a national championship.’ But he beat me in prep school. He’s going to say this story forever, please don’t listen to him. He’s going to say, ‘Oh, I locked Eric up.’ But he face-guarded me the whole game. In the national championship of prep school, I only took like three shots. So, I was like, ‘Donovan, you can’t keep saying that you locked me up when you face-guarded me. You didn’t even let me touch the ball.'”
Sounds like typical best friend trash talking, and Paschall hopes it will only continue as teammates in the NBA.
“That would be cool,” he said.