As Patrick Ewing sat down and spoke to the media, the room could feel the difference between Patrick now and when he was hired. Ewing’s introductory press conference gave you a feel of a man who was feeling his way through his new position. Yesterday, he looked like a man totally ready for the challenge ahead of him.
There was times he made the room laugh (like when he was asked about his favorite candy). There were times where he was very measured with his answers but what makes the new coach so fun (can I use that word?) is when he is candid. When asked about what his measure of success would be, he answered “winning”. Or my personal favorite was when he was asked about Georgetown pulling out of the “Love me, love me” Nike PK tournament.
Phil Knight didn’t care that we pulled out – Coach Patrick Ewing
It almost catapulted everyone in the room back to the times of John Thompson II. The sheer honesty was refreshing in this era of blah, blah, blah. The challenge will be if he can keep this up during the dog days of January when teams are in the conference schedule grind.
But, if I may disagree with Coach Ewing on one thing, it would be the winning part. Don’t misunderstand me, he can’t go 7-21 every season but he can help the University is ways that won’t be measured by conference titles and NCAA appearances.
The one thing Notre Dame football’s fan base had to get over was “waking up the echos”. No recruit is sitting in his room bellowing out that statement. They aren’t slapping their “Play Like A Champion Today” signs on their wall. Too many coaches came in promising to conjure up the “old days”. It wasn’t until Brian Kelly became coach that the program moved into a direction befitting of today’s environment.
This is where Ewing can succeed. His job isn’t to bring Georgetown back to the “Hoya Paranoia” days. It’s to bring the Hoyas into today’s environment. Those who are down on the hire like to mistakenly compare Ewing to guys like Clyde Drexler and Chris Mullin but that ignores the fact that the Big Man paid his dues as an NBA assistant for 14 years. That’s something Drexler and Mullin didn’t do. And, he wasn’t just a big man’s coach, Ewing wanted to learn to coach all positions. Does this guarantee success? No. But it does earn him the chance that any other coach with 14 years experience would get.
Then there’s the recruiting aspect. From his intro press conference to Big East Media day to yesterday Ewing is constantly being asked about it as if he didn’t know that was a prerequisite for the job. He understands the recruiting aspect and as he said at Media Day, there are so many “one and done’s” in the NBA, that coaching younger players isn’t something that is new to him.
Critics seem to think that Ewing will go into a recruit’s home and show old tapes from his playing days. Why would anyone think that? It doesn’t matter if the players know who Ewing was from his days at Georgetown or his Hall of Fame NBA career. What does matter is, he knows what the NBA is about from a coaching perspective not just a player’s perspective. It’s another subtle difference that some of his critics have ignored.
He wants to bring Georgetown into an era of enjoyable offense. He’s said time and time again that the offense will be an “NBA style” offense. That in and of itself should help Georgetown get a top flight point guard. Oh, and don’t forget this, NBA style offenses still have certain aspects of the pass and cut principles John Thompson III used. It’s just used in a different way on the pro level.
Defensively, look for the Hoyas to be more aggressive. With their length and athleticism, along with adjusting to a new system, getting easy baskets will be imperative. Frankly, that was something they’ve lacked the last few seasons. Teams can’t win night in and night out if they have to work hard in the half court for 90% of their points.
Quick points off “Live Ball” turnovers is essential to success and can bail you out on bad shooting nights. It also leads to more effective offensive rebounding which has enabled teams like, defending champions North Carolina, survive and win even when having their “C” game. It’s one of the similarities of college game and the NBA. Is there a better coach to teach young players different ways to win games even on off nights? Coaches make a living on the NBA level doing that game after game. It’s how the better coaches survive over an 82 game schedule.
Ewing has paid his dues and deserves the chance to prove himself unlike some other “NBA to College Coaching” situations. Trust me, having followed him from his initial presser to Big East Media Day to yesterday’s Media Day, he looks like a man gaining confidence by the day. He isn’t hear to “wake up the echos” or to bring back “Hoya Paranoia”… thankfully he’s here to blaze a new path.
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