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Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing reflect on storied rivalry

Former Big East players will soon meet again on the sidelines.

Chris Mullin at Big East Media Day
Chris Mullin at Big East Media Day
Wendell Cruz

For a brief moment, it felt like college basketball had turned back the clock to the 1980’s. On Wednesday, Big East icons Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing once again took to the Madison Square Garden floor, only this time as coaches of their respective alma maters.

“It’s great to be back here,” Ewing said at media day this Wednesday that was held at Madison Square Garden. “[MSG] is one of the places I consider my home. I spent fifteen years of my life playing here giving my blood sweat and tears. Battling against [Mullin]. Number in the rafters. It’s great to be back. When I come back, I get goosebumps.”

Furthermore, the friendship between both coaches helped motivate the renewal of their rivalry. As Ewing told reporters on Wednesday, he reached out to Mullin as he pondered accepting the Georgetown job.

“Since both he [Mullin] and I went from the NBA to the college game, he [Mullin] was one of the people I reached out to, asking for his opinion, and then I made my decision.”

Subsequently, Mullin offered his thoughts about Ewing joining the Big East.

“I think it is great for the Big East, and it is great for college basketball. Patrick has been coaching for a long time; he has put his time in. The fact that he decided to come to college basketball is going to be to the benefit of Georgetown, the Big East, and college basketball in general.”

In Ewing’s first season, the Hoyas were picked to finish ninth by the Big East coaches. They will likely be led by big man Jessie Govan who averaged about ten points and five rebounds per game last season. Despite only returning about 40% of their scoring from last year, Georgetown will aim to improve upon their 14-18 campaign.

Although both St. John’s and Georgetown have struggled in recent seasons, the rivalry remains strong, and should only grow more tense with Mullin and Ewing on the sidelines.

“There will always be tension,” stated Ewing. “Naturally, whenever we play that team [St. John’s], it is always going to be something special.”

The Red Storm and Hoyas will first do battle at Madison Square Garden on January 9th. Only two weeks later, St. John’s will travel to Washington D.C. for a bout with Georgetown.

Just as Mullin remarked about coaching against Ewing’s Hoyas, “ should be fun.”