On April 21, Pauly Paulicap officially became a Mountaineer.
The 6-foot-8 forward from Elmont, N.Y. committed to his fourth school in six years for one last ride before his eligibility runs out. From Harcum College to Manhattan University to DePaul University, Paulicap has moved his way up to now playing for a future hall of fame coach in Bob Huggins and a Power-5 school in West Virginia.
Before moving up the college basketball ranks, life was not easy for Paulicap.
In high school, Pauly and his family dealt with daily challenges that some people take for granted like food and shelter. Pauly and his brothers were consistently getting into trouble—which put stress on their hard working mother.
“I wasn’t a good student and I was always getting into trouble and hanging out with the wrong crowd,” Paulicap told The Riverdale Press. “But I realized that if I kept that up then nothing at home or at school would get better.”
“So I told myself it was time to grow up,” Paulicap added.
And Pauly did.
Thanks to school friend David Anderson and his parents, the family welcomed Paulicap into their homes with open arms. This was all Pauly needed to succeed and flourish—a new environment.
“My mom was just having a hard time. She worked three jobs and the third job was taking care of all of us,” Paulicap said. “So [the Andersons] took me in and that’s when I basically got some stability. I had a meal to eat, clothes to wear, things like that. Then with that stability, I was able to skyrocket.”
During the rest of his time at Elmont Memorial High School, Pauly was able to receive a junior college offer from Harcum College—located in Pennsylvania.
Following one season at Harcum where Paulicap averaged 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a freshman, an NCAA Division I school was knocking on the door. Manhattan.
Paulicap’s first year playing Division I ball was exceptional. The forward went home with the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year award (2017-18). Paulicap averaged 10.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
Goals and future professional aspirations were set for Pauly heading into his junior season until an injury limited him to only 10 games and missing the rest of the season. If there was any good news to come out of this was that Paulicap didn’t lose a year of eligibility and redshirted.
In the 2019-20 season, Paulicap bounced back from his injury, making the All-MAAC Third Team. The New York native led his team in points (10.4), rebounds (6.6) and blocks (1.9). After the season abruptly ended due to COVID, Paulicap received interest from multiple schools as a graduate transfer. This was when Dave Leitao and DePaul made their pitch to Paulicap to come to the windy city.
During the shortened season with the Big East member, Paulicap didn’t lose a step, averaging similar numbers to his time at Manhattan. Paulicap started 15-of-19 games for the Blue Demons. Due to the extra year of eligibility given by the NCAA, Paulicap has received another graduate year and will suit up for West Virginia starting this November.
Pauly has changed a lot throughout the past eight years of his life but one thing that has stayed consistent is the support from his mother.
“She calls me every day to tell me [how proud she is],” Paulicap said. “She tells me, ‘I’m really, really proud of you.’ I was the last one expected to make these changes, so that makes her even more happy. The doubt from other people and the trouble I used to get into, everyone used to say, ‘Pauly is not going to do much.’ Well, I think when I beat those odds, it kind of made her open her eyes and say, ‘Wow, Pauly actually changed.’
“I think she’s really proud of me now,” Paulicap added.
(Top Photo: David Butler)
Original Story: The Riverdale Press