Kent Babb, author of the book “Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson”, has put together a lengthy piece on the first months of the Georgetown basketball program under Patrick Ewing, and the challenges both the program and Ewing will face moving forward.
You can find the full article RIGHT HERE, but some striking quotes/takeaways I’ve pasted below:
But the teenagers continue their conversations, their gazes fixed on phones. Patrick Ewing, this icon of another time and place, comes and goes and almost no one reacts.
“He can’t be quiet at that helm,” former Georgetown teammate and NBA player Reggie Williams says. “It’s too big of a job to sit back and think people are going to come there because you’re Patrick Ewing.”
“He’s got what he needs, but you’ve got to say it,” says Keith Williams, an influential figure in the D.C. area’s amateur basketball community, full of both talent and expectations. “They’ve got to sell a story and you’ve got to be a salesperson because guess what: Most 16- or 17-year-olds, they don’t even know who Pat Ewing is.”
The Georgetown brand has faded, its magnetism gone in the Washington, D.C., area and across the nation, and though Ewing seems determined to recapture it, there’s only so much he’s willing to do.
“I’m not going to kiss the ring,” Ewing says, and this might be the most Georgetown thing about him: He, like the school that once signed him to a scholarship 36 years before signing him to a six-year coaching contract, is willing to do things only his own way at a school known for seeing things through its own prism.
For his part, Ewing insists that the guarded and uncertain coach of the past is gone, that he faces plenty of challenges, but asserting himself — even when it comes to Thompson — is no longer among them.
“I would listen to the things that he says to me,” Ewing says. “But at the end of the day, I’m 55 years old. If anybody who knows me, they know I’m stubborn. I’m my own man. I’m going to do what I want, when I want, how I want.”
But Thompson III made similar public declarations, so what if Big John says he wants to . . . ?
“Did you hear what I said?” Ewing says, repeating himself. “This is my program.”
But his approach is almost jarring in how unconventional it is. He has not, for instance, shared this vision with many of the D.C. area’s more prominent high school or Amateur Athletic Union coaches, who hold the power to steer talented kids to one school or another. One talented player recently eliminated Georgetown from consideration, according to an individual familiar with that player’s thinking, in part because he had no idea what style of offense the Hoyas would run under Ewing.
“I’ve talked to the assistants, but I’ve never talked to the boss guy,” says one prominent individual in the local hoops scene, who requested that his thoughts be shared anonymously because he remains hopeful of developing a relationship with Ewing. “I want Pat to do well but don’t big-time; don’t make people feel like you’re Pat Ewing [and] you don’t have to be talking to me.”