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Patrick Ewing Says Only Georgetown Could Convince Him to Leave NBA

April 5, 2017 – Patrick Ewing (C’85), formally announced as Georgetown’s head men’s basketball coach at a press conference today, told an audience of reporters that it is “great to be back.”

Patrick Ewing (C'85) holds up Georgetown University banner as President DeGioia and Lee Reed, Georgetown’s director of intercollegiate athletics, look on“I think if it was any other university I wouldn't be doing this,” Ewing explained about leaving the NBA to become head coach at Georgetown. “But it's my alma mater – It's Georgetown. You know, I'm a Hoya. Any other university and the answer would be ‘No, I'm going to stay in the NBA.’ But I just thought it was something that I needed to do.”

Ewing, who helped Georgetown clinch its historic win in the NCAA Division Men’s Basketball Tournament in 1984, is a Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee, a three-time consensus First Team All-American, National Champion and Most Outstanding Player of the 1984 NCAA Tournament.

He also claims a No. 1 overall NBA Draft selection, NBA Rookie of the Year, 11-time NBA All-Star, and is a member of the original Dream Team and the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

After playing professionally, primarily with the New York Knicks, he went on to a 15-year coaching career as an assistant in the NBA.

Special Moment

During his illustrious career, Ewing had the opportunity to play for and coach alongside some of the greatest coaches in basketball, including Pat Riley (New York Knicks), Jeff Van Gundy (Knicks, Houston Rockets), Stan Van Gundy (Orlando Magic), Tom Thibodeau (Orlando Magic) and Steve Clifford (Charlotte).

“This is a special moment for our university and for our men's basketball program,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said. “Thirty-three years after winning the NCAA National Championship, No. 33 is coming home.”

John Thompson Jr. coached Ewing, who is now the 18th head coach of the Hoyas, at the height of the team’s success.

“I came to college a boy and I left a man under Coach Thompson,” Ewing said at the press conference held on campus today. “He gave me the opportunity to grow, not only as an athlete, but also as a person.”

Embracing Georgetown Values

Ewing was the top recruit in the country coming out of Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school in Massachusetts in 1981, and went on to be recognized as the greatest player to don the Blue & Gray.

Both DeGioia and Lee Reed, Georgetown’s director of intercollegiate athletics, said Ewing not only has what it takes to be a successful coach, but also embraces the mission of the university.

“We wanted someone who embraced the values of Georgetown University, that believed as deeply as we believe in the balance between student and athlete,” Reed said. “We wanted someone who embraced the rich tradition of Georgetown basketball, someone who was comfortable with that tradition. We wanted someone who would set a high standard as a leader of our young men. After all, that is why we are here.”

'Up-tempo Pace'

Ewing said his return to the Hilltop will bring a mix of the old-school, hard-nosed Big East basketball that helped establish Georgetown as a national powerhouse with an updated NBA style of play.

“It's my vision to try to play a style of ball that's going to be conducive and similar to the style we play in the NBA,” Ewing explained. “I want it to be up-tempo, push the ball, shoot threes if you have them. It's similar to the way that we play in Charlotte. There is a more up-tempo pace and similar to what we did when I was here.”

When asked by a reporter how he felt about playing against St. John’s Chris Mullin, Ewing said it was looking forward to it.

“I was joking with someone on my way into the press conference,” Ewing said. “I said we need to get back to the way it was. No one liked us, Hoya paranoia, smacking people down. Just get back to the old Big East where it was a rough and tumble Big East.”