While I was preparing to write this introduction to Patrick Ewing, I took a long hard glance at his basketball resume, and I was awestruck.
He was a four-year starter at Georgetown University, where he learned under the tutelage of legendary head coach John Thompson. Ewing and the Hoyas won the national title during his junior year, and in two other seasons he advanced the to the national final and fell just short. The Ewing-led Hoyas were known for their defense which was both intimidating and smothering.
He was able to parlay his college success into a number one overall draft selection by the New York Knicks in 1985.
Although he did not win a title like he had at Georgetown, Ewing was just as dominant and just as consistent. For 17 NBA seasons (15 of which were with the Knicks), Ewing averaged 21.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.45 blocks. He made was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1985, he made 11 All-Star game appearances, and he is the Knicks all time leader in Knicks’ all-time leader in numerous categories including points, rebounds, blocks and steals. As a result of all this brilliance, the Knicks retired his #33 jersey in February 2003.
In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, back when only college kids were sent to play, he and Michael Jordan led team USA to gold medal victory. Then in 1992, he was a member of the now legendary Dream Teamers as was Jordan and a host of other future Hall of Famers. That team won by an average of 30 points, and they easily cruised to a gold medal.
Ewing retired from the NBA after the 2002 season, and after getting assistant coaching positions in Washington and Houston, he is now an assistant coach in Orlando.
Ewing already had been named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players back in 1996, but in 2008, he received the highest honor a former NBA player can achieve: Hall of Fame honors. He, along with Adrian Dantley, longtime rival Hakeem Olajuwon, Dick Vitale, Cathy Rush and Pistons owner William Davidson were inducted before this current NBA season.
Assistant Coach Ewing and the Orlando Magic were in town to play the Washington Wizards Thursday evening, and he took some time to talk to Hoops Addict shortly before he began conducting pregame shooting drills
Rashad Mobley: I’ve noticed that J.J. Redick is getting much more playing time than in year’s past. What is he doing differently this year?
Patrick Ewing: Well, we’ve had some injuries first and foremost, so that’s part of it. But he came to camp in shape, did an outstanding job in the preseason and training camp, and whatever else he did this summer is paying off.
Mobley: So when everyone is healthy, will he still play the same amount?
Ewing (laughing): Man, you’ll have to ask Coach [Stan] Van Gundy that one
Mobley: So how would you assess and evaluate your team’s performance so far this season?
Ewing: Well right now we’re 11-4 (now 12-4 after their victory over the Wizards) but I think we could be better. We need to be a little more consistent on offense and play a little harder on defense, but so far we’re fine. You can’t dispute our record.
Mobley: How is your son [Patrick Ewing Jr.]? I know personally I think he should have made the Knicks’ roster.
Ewing: He’s fine. I would have loved for him to make it, he certainly played well enough to make it, but it just wasn’t in the cards for him right then. So hopefully somebody will pick him up and they’ll probably send him to the D-League and get him right.
Mobley: So playing overseas is not an option?
Ewing: Nah, with the way the economy is right now in the world, it really wasn’t a good idea or the right time to send him. We’ll just stick with the D-League and hope someone calls him up.
Mobley: So, do you have any interest in being a head coach?
Ewing: Interest? Definitely. I don’t think any assistant coach in this league…[pauses] I think every assistant coach in this league aspires to be a head coach, unless they are older, and have already done it. Then, they just want to coach for the fun of it.
Mobley: That being said, assuming the Wizards job is open and available would you consider yourself a candidate?
Ewing: I love DC. I have a lot of history here. I played college ball here, worked here for a year, this [Washington] is where I started assistant coaching. But hey, anywhere I could get a job, I’d take it.
Mobley: Thank you Patrick, I’ll let you get back to the team, and good luck tonight.
Ewing: No problem man, nice meeting you.
Photo Credit: ICON Sports Media