The NBA has been a long time coming for Patrick Ewing Jr. since his days at Georgetown, and after yet another preseason tease with the New York Knicks when it was painfully obvious to everyone except the morons making the personnel decisions that he should make the team, he was once again sent back to the NBDL. Last night, however, Ewing's NBA dream became a reality as years of hard work finally paid off when he made his NBA debut with the New Orleans Hornets.
More Ewing after The Jump:
In the D-League this year Ewing put up big numbers with the Reno Bighorns, made the NBDL All-Star Game and was dealt to the Sioux Falls Skyforce in midseason. He was the leading scorer on the Skyforce, averaging 19.9 points in 23 games, and when he got the call from the Hornets that his time had finally come, Ewing was the 3rd leading rebounder in the NBDL.
As Hoyas fans who had the privilege of watching Patrick play at Georgetown know, Ewing's value to a team goes way beyond what he does on the court. In Sioux Falls:
"He definitely gave our fans something to be excited about," club president Mike Heineman said. "When we got him, we were just picking him up as a good player - we didn't realize what a good person he was. ... You'd think a guy with a famous dad would come in and be a prima donna, and he was the exact opposite." He did every public appearance, put in extra time at practice and was polite with the media.
Last night at the New Orleans Arena, Ewing demonstrated that energy that Hoyas fans have missed since he left school, always being the first person off the bench during timeouts to greet the players on the court with high fives and cheering loudly from the bench during the game. When he entered the game with about three minutes left in the 2nd quarter, Ewing was greeted with "Pat-rick Ew-ing" cheers from the Hornets faithful, and demonstrated his usual hustle during his 1:37 of playing time, running down loose balls and effectively boxing out the evil Portland Trailblazers.
I don't know if Ewing's stay in New Orleans will be a long one, but even if it lasts just the remainder of this season, I'm thrilled to have been able to be there for his NBA debut. It's always nice to see former Hoyas work their way into the League and play at the highest level, and seeing Patrick on the court last night with guys like Chris Paul and Brandon Roy and doing battle under the glass against Gerald Wallace and Lamarcus Aldridge made last night a special one, not just because Patrick was such a fan favorite during his time at Georgetown, but because of all that he has gone through since leaving Georgetown in 2008 to make it to where he is today.
We all look forward to seeing that Hornets #22 jersey hanging in McDonough in the near future, alongside those of his Hoya teammates Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, and Dajuan Summers and of course, his father.
Congrats to Patrick. Hoya Saxa.