Rutgers basketball player reflects on journey to NCAA Tournament after surviving house fire

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Rutgers is headed for March Madness, and for one player on the men's basketball team, the celebration is extra special.

Sometimes dreams do come true.

Rutgers is celebrating an NCAA tournament invite, but for Paul Mulcahy, it's part of his journey that took a devastating turn when his family home in Bayonne was engulfed in flames more than seven years ago.

"I've got a strong faith and I think god kind of helped my family get through all that," Mulcahy said.

He smiles when he reflects on how far he and his family have come from that helpless February day to now, playing as a gritty point guard for the Scarlet Knights.

"We've seen almost every type of style of basketball so we just gotta compete -- mentally we'll be prepared and just physically we gotta exert everything," Mulcahy said.

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He's ready to take on a tough Notre Dame team in Wednesday night's game in Dayton, Ohio, and is pleased the university has given him and his teammates so much support.

"I think Rutgers nation is gonna be there -- loud and proud and I'm excited to play basketball," Mulcahy said.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire, but it did inspire Mulcahy to launch his charitable foundation to provide recreation and support for folks in his home of Hudson County.

"It's called the Grateful Four Foundation and our mission is to spread gratitude and inspire a chain-reaction of selfless acts," he said.

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As for the big game, the Rutgers basketball coach Steve Pikiell believes the team is ready to take on the challenge and the fans, because when the Knights played in the tournament last year, the COVID-19 protocols were still in place.


"I'm so thankful to get back to some kind of normalcy with March Madness," Pikiell said.

So if the Scarlet Knights can beat Notre Dame on Wednesday night, they'll have less than 48 hours to get on a flight to fly to San Diego to take on a very talented Alabama team.

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