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Paul Mulcahy declares for NBA Draft, maintains college eligibility



Feb 4, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Paul Mulcahy (4) runs up court after a basket in front of Michigan State Spartans guard Tyson Walker (2) and forward Malik Hall (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers guard Paul Mulcahy declared for the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday on social media. However, he will not sign with an agent in order to maintain his college eligibility. He will go through the draft evaluation process while keeping the door open for a potential return to Rutgers for next season. The deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the NBA draft is June 12 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

“We are thrilled for Paul to explore the opportunity of declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “Paul has become one of the all-time winners on and off of the basketball court at Rutgers and we will support him and his family through this exciting journey.”

Mulcahy averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 32.4 minutes per game this past season. He shot 41.6% from the floor, 37.0% from three-point range and 72.3% from the foul line. He was 4th in Big Ten play in assists and 6th in assist-to-turnover ratio, along with 7th in steals.

During the 2021-2022 season, Mulcahy became the first Rutgers player to average more than 5+ assists in 27 years since Brian Ellerbe during the 1984-1985 season. Mulcahy averaged career highs as a junior with 9.0 points, 5.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds.

Through four seasons, Mulcahy has played 121 career games and started in 81 contests. His career averages include 6.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. Mulcahy is shooting 45.1% from the floor, 36.4% from three-point range and 71.6% from the foul line in his career.

Mulcahy is currently 4th all-time for Rutgers in assists with 457 in his career.

He’s grown as a point guard and was dominant at times. There were struggles this past season but Mulcahy also played through multiple injuries. He has been a team first player throughout his career and played a big role getting Rutgers to multiple NCAA Tournaments. His play during the historic four game winning streak against ranked teams will live in program lore forever.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to participate in the draft evaluation process makes sense for Mulcahy. He will get feedback on his game as well as insight on the interest from teams prior to potentially fully entering the NBA Draft. He’ll also workout and play against high quality players throughout the process. It could also give him a chance to weigh pro options outside of the NBA.

Whether Mulcahy returns for one more season or not, his overall contributions to the program will be appreciated forever. He’ll be fondly remembered along with Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr., Myles Johnson, and Caleb McConnell most notably for being the core players who turned the program around under head coach Steve Pikiell.

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  1. Henry Rutgers

    March 31, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    Selfishly, this is what I had hoped for. It’s a smart move. He’ll benefit from advice on how to better his game, valuation and draft-ability.

    I was very critical of Mulcahy during the season but I’ve also been clear that I think he can contribute much to next year’s team. With Omoruyi the risk is different. He probably could leave and play in the EU now. Some EU players continue to develop and make it to the NBA. That is one risk the other is he returns to college basketball but not at Rutgers. With Mulcahy the risks are different. I think this announcement brings him closer to returning to the banks next season. All of a sudden June 12th seems like it is a long way off.

    Aaron, do you know the NCAA rule that applies to these situations? I know we don’t have to hold scholarships open for players entering the portal but are we required to hold the scholarship open if a player declares for the draft without an agent? It’s just a question. I’m not suggesting that either scholarship should be cancelled even if it was permissible.

  2. thevinman

    March 31, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    Any player who can get advice from NBA scouts or evaluators would be foolish not to seek it so Paul is smart to do so. Hard to fully evaluate Paul based on last year since he was playing injured a lot. However, based on his career so far, if Paul wants to play professionally at some level he will need to be way more consistent and show more aggressiveness overall, especially in shooting or driving. My selfish hope is that he comes back to Rutgers and shows improvement in the areas I mentioned.

  3. FlaRef

    March 31, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Both these players have three options on the table. Leave for NBA or EU pro league, leave for portal and another opportunity to play college ball elsewhere or return to RU. Likely Coach knows the end result, hence the portal contacts to replace a wing and guard with 4 or 5 star experienced players. Would like to see both come back to RU with gained experience and poise during the draft process and assessments.

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