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Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year Eric Paschall commits to Villanova

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He will be eligible for the Wildcats at the start of the 2016-17 season.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year won't be sticking around in that league. After the Fordham Rams fired coach Tom Pecora, 6-foot-6 guard Eric Paschall decided to take a look at his options outside of Rose Hill. The freshman found mutual interest in Villanova, Providence, Florida and Kansas -- and he also considered staying at Fordham under former Eastern Kentucky coach Jeff Neubauer.

Why Villanova? He told Josh Tomson, "Villanova has a great combination of basketball and academics. I built a great relationship with coach Jay Wright, and (assistant) coach (Baker) Dunleavy recruited me right before I committed to Fordham. I connected with all the coaches on my visit there."

Paschall had visited Villanova and Florida, from that group before making the decision to head to the Main Line. He reportedly cancelled a planned visit to Providence after assistant coach Bob Simon left for Alabama.

The decision came shortly after New York-area writers named him the Met Basketball Writers Association Co-Rookie of the Year, along with Seton Hall's Angel Delgado.

In the 2014-15 season, Paschall averaged 15.9 points per game and led the Rams with 45 made three-pointers. He grabbed an average of 5.5 rebounds per game, dished out 1 assist per game, and averaged 0.8 steals.

He was A-10 Rookie of the Week twice and set a school record for most points by a freshman in his debut, by scoring 31 against New York Tech. Paschall's scoring was 10th overall in the Atlantic 10 and fourth among Division I freshmen. He was rated 4-stars coming out of high school and held offers from George Mason, Providence, VCU and West Virginia in addition to Fordham.

The talented freshman requested his release when the school's athletic administration opted to change coaching staffs. He kept the Rams in the mix the entire time, however, and continued to work out and practice with the team in the early stages of their offseason program. Recruited to the Bronx school by former Jay Wright assistant Tom Pecora, it is likely that the connection and similarities between those coaches helped to attract the guard to Villanova.

Paschall has three seasons of eligibility remaining, but will need to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer restrictions. On that topic, Paschall noted, "I really get to focus on myself for a year and worry about how I need to get myself better."