Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography.
By David Cordova
The senior class of 2019 has plenty of gems nationally. But many of those gems are ones that aren’t five-stars, but the ones that are really talented that don’t get too much attention outside their state. There’s one player in the Garden State that is showing plenty of promise.
Paul Mulcahy is one of the best guards in New Jersey and has showed that he is one player that will make a name for himself on the Division I level. The 6-foot-6 point guard out of Gill St. Bernard School in Gladstone, New Jersey, is a pass-first guard that gets his teammates involved and also has flashy moves that are reminiscent of Woody Harrelson’s character, Billy Hoyle, in the 1992 film, “White Men Can’t Jump.”
“I know how good I want to be, well, I know how good I’m going to be,” said Mulcahy when asked what motivates him on the court, “And I constantly work for that. I don’t care what other people say, because I know what my end goal is, so my end goal is what motivates me.”
Mulcahy hails from Bayonne, New Jersey, which is a city with a population of 67,186 people. It is also a stone’s throw away from New York City. “I love it. I got to learn the two different ways of playing basketball, which is street basketball and there’s more fundamentally sound basketball. But I love being from there, it puts a chip on my shoulder,” he said about his hometown.
When asked about where he got his playground style of play from, he replied, “I’m happy you asked me about that. So when I was younger, I used to play at the park all the time, and the only way I would be able to play with the big guys, was if I got the ball. So that’s how I learned how to get past people and that’s why I think I have a very high IQ, I get people the ball in good spots.”
When asked about New Jersey basketball, he replied, “I think it’s the best basketball [state], I’ve played all over. New Jersey has the best players, everybody knows each other, it’s so condensed that there’s people from all over and there’s a lot of good guys [that can play], especially in my class.”
On players that he emulates, Mulcahy replied, “My favorite player of all time is [Rajon] Rondo. I love LeBron James, he’s like all-around. Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, I’ve been watching awhile, but Rondo is definitely my favorite basketball player.”
Since his freshman season at Gill St. Bernard’s, he has been a force for the Knights. He has already made the 1,000-point club and was selected as the Skyland Confrence Player of the Year as a sophomore. He has also helped the Knights continue their excellence as one of the premier programs in the Garden State.
“I love it, it’s given me opportunities, it’s taught me to play a completely different style of basketball. Other than that, school, I’ve gotten to meet some of the best people, a lot of different people. They’ve given me a lot of opportunities,” said Mulcahy about the school.
He also gets to play for Mergin Sina, who has been the head coach of the Knights for the last 15 years. Sina, who played collegiate basketball at Seton Hall and Rhode Island, and also professionally in countries such as Belgium, Spain, Italy, Argentina & Portugal, knows how the game should be played and teaches the game to his players the right way.
On playing for Coach Sina, Mulcahy replied, “He’s awesome, he’s so knowledgeable. Talent-wise, he might not always get the best talent, but we always win. All of these teams going to City of Palms and stuff like that, and we handle business. He’s a really good coach.”
Last season as a junior, Mulcahy led the Knights to a 24-5 record and averaged 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. When asked about that season, he replied, “We didn’t states, that’s my goal. I played with those kids my whole life, since seventh grade, so I was a little upset. Myself, I did pretty good, I’m really excited about this season. I’ve gotten a lot better.”
After fielding offers from Division I schools such as Northwestern, UConn and Xavier, he committed to Rutgers in May of this year, and is the Scarlet Knights’ first recruit in the senior class. When asked about why he chose to play at Rutgers, he replied, “It’s awesome, I’m so excited, I’m really happy with how everything’s turned out. I know how good I’m going to be, and I think they put me in a real good position and that’s what it’s about, that fit. Rather than just chase a name, and I play with a lot of pride, so I think it’s a great fit, a very, very good spot for me.”
On what he’ll bring to the Big Ten next fall, he replied, “Winning. I’m a winner, that’s what I pride myself on, that’s all I really care about, so I want to make sure I compete. I want to beat the teams I want to beat.”
With everything accomplished as far as committing to a school, there’s one thing that Mulcahy has on his mind. “Win states,” he said. “I have to, there’s no other option. We didn’t get invited to City of Palms, we didn’t get invited to other tournaments that teams that we beat are getting invited to, so we play with that chip on our shoulder and handle business.”
Now that he’s a senior, it’s all or nothing for Mulcahy. Next season, he’ll be wowing the crowds at the Louis Brown Athletic Center with his spectacular play. But now, he wants what every kid in the Garden State wants. To play in the New Jersey Tournament of Champions. This season, the NJSIAA moved the event to the Louis Brown Athletic Center, which is the Scarlet Knights’ arena. It would be a fitting end to his high school career if the kid from Bayonne could make it there and show Rutgers fans what to expect for the future.”
I’m just taking it one step at a time,” he said, “I have goals, which I work toward a lot, I keep that to myself, though. Just get better [on the court], stay true to myself.”
Highlights of Paul Mulcahy: