Patrick Ewing, likely the biggest star from the Kicks’ mid-90s glory days, will return to his alma mater to take over as Georgetown Hoyas head coach.
Ewing, who played for Georgetown from 1982-1985 before becoming the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, is currently the Associate Head Coach with the Charlotte Hornets. The new Georgetown coach had long wanted an NBA head coaching job, and is the second-in-command to a developing team on the edge of the NBA Playoffs race.
John Thompson III was let go on March 23rd, nearly two weeks ago - which feels like an eternity in a world where Athletic Directors and wealthy boosters often have their “next coach up” already in the queue. It took a little time, but the Hoyas seem to have found their coach, one with connection to the 80’s and to Big John Thompson Jr., a looming presence over all things Georgetown basketball.
We at the Rumble welcome Ewing, who brings the easy and obvious “Mullin vs Ewing” storylines from the 80s to life through their on-court proxies. Patrick Ewing was also a huge figure for New Yorkers, the big center of the tough, defensively-oriented Knicks squads. Ewing is a success story of basketball, an immigrant from Jamaica who played under Mike Jarvis - who went on the be a St. John’s coach with some successes.
Certainly, casual and uninformed NBA fans who have inexplicably large Twitter followers despite losing their HBO show have taken notice of the hire.
Obviously, there are concerns when bringing a coach from the professional ranks to college.
St. John’s knows that well, as Chris Mullin has dealt with both replenishing an exodus of talent and ramping up his skill in teaching and reaching college-aged players to create a cohesive team.
Will Ewing, with more experience on the sidelines as a longtime assistant coach, fare better from the get-go? He returns at least half of a roster, which is a seep up from St. John's. And while his staff will need to get him up to speed with the peculiarities of college, Ewing appears to have worked at the craft of coaching.
It’s not an easy road, where instant expectations and the long curve of learning can slow down what seems to be a simple, direct process. College players often need to be taught things that other coaches find basic - playing hard, basic defense - as Chris Mullin has seen, and as former Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan also witnessed.
At the very least, the Hoyas won’t have the spectre of another John Thompson III season hanging over the dwindling crowds and increasingly rancorous fanbase.
But can he recruit? Can he lead? Will he save something special for hated St. John’s? Will the Hoya/ Red Storm rivalry become one of top teams battling for NCAA seeding, or a scrum at the bottom of a mud pit, two teams trying to stay out of last place?
We have years to discuss. What are your thoughts?