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Patrick Ewing Brings Spotlight Back to Georgetown

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The self-proclaimed ‘Gentle Giant’ has been speaking with the media

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Brooklyn Nets
Coach Ewing
Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

There have been some really interesting articles and interviews with Coach Patrick Ewing in the past few days—including a look at yesterday’s press conference. Combined with the HBO Real Sports interview (and the colorful quotes coming out of that) we are starting to see a clearer picture of Ewing as a coach. While nothing will compare to watching the first few games, here is a quick collection of some recent headlines and passages:

All in the Family: Can Patrick Ewing save Georgetown? | Dana O'Neil | The Athletic (Oct 30, 2017)

· “Did I root for Patrick to get the job? You’re damn right I did. Did I select him? I did not,’’ Thompson Jr. says. “He spent 14 years tutoring for this job. It’s an insult and offensive if people think he didn’t earn this position. He earned it. It’s not something John Thompson did for him, and it’s offensive for people to say that.’’

· “Why take it? Because it’s Georgetown,’’ he says. “It’s my alma mater. I had four glorious years here. My teammates, we helped to lay the foundation for the history We all laid the bricks. I weighed the pros and cons and came back with, why not?’’

· Instead of selling himself on social media or wooing a player’s posse, Ewing plans on a retro approach to recruiting. He wants to share his own experiences through actual conversations with prospects. Despite the 38-year age gap, he believes there is no one in college basketball more qualified to talk about the journey from hot high school recruit to NBA star than he is. The unorthodox approach already has landed one top recruit — Josh LeBlanc, a power forward from Baton Rouge, La., who’s rated 98th in the class of 2018, committed earlier this month…Of course he announced it on Twitter.

· “I’m very competitive, but I have to be patient,’’ Ewing says. “When I got this job, one of the things I tried to tell the fans is that don’t think, ‘Hey, Patrick got the job. We’re good.’ This is going to take some time.’’…Paranoia, after all, takes time to fester.

Patrick Ewing Has The Floor | Ian O'Connor | ESPN 11/01/17

· … Ewing believes he will weather his new career challenges the way he weathered his stormy transition to a new world, shaped by the cancer of racism, to become what he became…"I'm what America's all about," Ewing says. He means the good and the bad.

· Ewing landed four-star forwards Josh LeBlanc from Louisiana and Jamorko Pickett from Washington D.C. -- the one market, above all, he needs to establish as a consistent talent pipeline. He also won over a high-flying point guard from Virginia named Mac McClung, who originally committed to Rutgers before reopening his recruitment and rejecting a flood of new offers in favor of Georgetown.

· McClung said in a statement that Ewing showed him videos of how he wants him to play at an NBA pace -- McClung's father, Marcus, said the videos were of Charlotte's Kemba Walker -- and that during his campus visit, John Thompson Jr. told him "how excited he was when my recruitment reopened and how I played like a Hoya." Marcus McClung says he was starstruck to meet Thompson and that his son was impressed with Ewing's vision for developing him into a potential pro. No promises were made, Marcus McClung says. "But if anybody knows what it takes to get to the next level, it's Patrick Ewing."

Patrick Ewing doesn’t care if you fear him. He just wants to win | Dan Steinberg | WaPo (Nov 1)

· “I am a gentle giant,” Ewing said Tuesday with yet another smile, loosening his tie after the last of his television interviews. “You don’t think I’m a gentle giant?”

· Ewing’s job now is to win games, not to reestablish a brand. He said he’ll do so by mixing an up-tempo NBA offense with the pressing and trapping defense Georgetown used under Thompson. And while many coaches use these made-for-media events to try to lower expectations — explaining the uniquely impossible difficulties they face — Ewing took a refreshingly different approach.

· For example, he isn’t as worried about his recruiting touch as everyone’s insisted he should be. (“The recruiting is recruiting, and it’s been fine,” he said.) He isn’t troubled by the massive spotlight trained at his end of the bench. (“That’s been a way of life for me. I don’t see it as anything new,” he said.) And he sure doesn’t seem stressed about the transition from the pro game to college. (“Xs and Os is Xs and Os,” he said. “There’s no difference.”)

At Georgetown, the big man on campus is in his 50s and wears a suit | Ava Wallace | WaPo (Oct 31)

Some press conference notes:

· As Georgetown’s coach, Ewing is happy to shield his players from anything close to that level of attention — and scrutiny — as they try to rebuild after consecutive 18-loss seasons in which the Hoyas missed the NCAA tournament…“I hope so,” Ewing said Tuesday, when asked if the attention he receives lessens the spotlight on his players. “It’s my goal to take a little bit, if not a lot, of the pressure off them while I’m pushing them and driving them to be successful. The players that have been here had two poor years, and that’s why I’m sitting here today. It’s my goal to alleviate some of the pressures while we become a more cohesive team and work towards being a much better team. Just keep on getting better.

· There are plenty of adjustments to be made under Ewing, not the least of which includes acclimating to a more up-tempo style and so much running in practice that it's "to the point where you just want to pass out," said Derrickson, who was joined at the podium Tuesday by junior center Jessie Govan, senior guard Jonathan Mulmore, junior guard/forward Kaleb Johnson and sophomore guard Jagan Moseley.

· “Right now, we’re just learning a lot of new information on the court that can make us better,” Derrickson said. “A lot of small details . . . the juniors — me, Kaleb, Jessie, we haven’t won anything since we got here. So we know the bad feelings of not making it to the postseason, and we try to display that sense of urgency to our younger players. The players, we definitely have high expectations for each other — in practice.”

Lastly, an article by Travis Hines of NBCSports has Coach Ewing in the “Bottom 5” of new coaching hires. Calling the situation “awkward,” and hedging his ‘failure’ bet a bit, the article gets stuck on the alleged Thompson, Jr. issues that feel, frankly, like copy-pasted ideas from April and ignorant of Coach Ewing’s recent responses in the media and in the recruiting world.

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello take on Ewing in his Big East Preview is just as superficial.