Guard Paul Mulcahy has announced he is entering the transfer portal as a graduate transfer. After four years with the Rutgers men’s basketball team, he holds one remaining year of eligibility. This decision comes after the news broke of Mulcahy's name being withdrawn from the 2023 NBA Draft player pool on June 1.
Initially, Mulcahy did not make an announcement himself regarding his decision not to move forward with the NBA Draft process. The news was only discovered when fans found out that Mulcahy was on the list of players withdrawing their names from the draft.
This is when some suspicion regarding his future arose.
Despite being on the list, he did not announce that he would be returning to the Scarlet Knights, which is what rising senior center Clifford Omoruyi did immediately upon his withdrawal from the draft via posts on social media.
During his time on the Banks, Mulcahy was a cornerstone piece for Rutgers and for head coach Steve Pikiell. He’s been widely considered a part of the core group of players who helped turn the Knights around, including Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr., Caleb McConnell and Omoruyi.
Mulcahy started in 81 of his 121 games played at Rutgers and an impressive 81 of 90 games after his freshman year. Always being a leader and facilitator for the Knights, Mulcahy jumped up to 4th all-time in assists in program history after his senior season.
Though he's begun the transfer portal process so late, other schools are already lining up for a chance to bring a starting caliber guard like Mulcahy onto their squads.
Programs such as Kentucky, Kansas State, Michigan and West Virginia are said to have shown interest in Mulcahy with Illinois and Indiana also said to potentially be in the mix. If Mulcahy ends up at any of the Big Ten schools listed, there will be a (likely unwelcome) return to Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus as the Knights are slated to have home games against the Wolverines, Fighting Illini and Hoosiers in the upcoming season.
Rutgers has now lost both of its starting guards to the transfer portal in a matter of weeks, as guard Cam Spencer transferred to the University of Connecticut. Looking ahead for the Knights, just three guards are on the roster for this upcoming season: rising sophomore guard Derek Simpson, graduate guard Noah Fernandes and incoming freshman Jamichael Davis.
Simpson showed a ton of promise at the end of his freshman season and was even commanding minutes over a struggling Mulcahy. Pairing him with the scorer and shooter that Fernandes is should help elevate Rutgers' backcourt.
Defense, though, will be the biggest question mark as Mulcahy offered a great deal of versatility on that side of the ball. Losing McConnell, who is a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, is also a void that must be filled. Simpson and Fernandes will certainly bring it on offense but will need to step up on defense to fill these holes. That’s where Davis could make his mark as he fits more of Pikiell’s defensive-minded mold at the guard position.
With multiple scholarship spots still open, the Knights will need to scour the remaining players available in the transfer portal to find more depth, especially at the guard position.
The sky is not falling for Rutgers, but Mulcahy undoubtedly would have been a great piece to have for another year. The Knights must now look to some newer, younger faces for production on the court, something they haven't had to do often in recent years.
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