Why Georgetowns return to glory has failed to launch under Patrick Ewing
January 29, 2022 3:53 PM   Subscribe

"Georgetown is now at a crossroads that will shape its future. While winning last year's Big East tournament title provided a boost of optimism, it did not solve the program's woes. Ewing, handpicked by Thompson, has not yet proved that he can lead the Hoyas into a brighter chapter. With Georgetown a heavy underdog heading into Tuesday's matchup with longtime Big East rival UConn, Ewing, it seems, is running out of time to restore the program he helped build."
posted by 47WaysToLeaveYourLover (13 comments total)
If they're looking for a tall guy who's way out of his depth, who can help guide their fabled basketball program to consecutive losing seasons, I'll do it for 10% of what they're paying Ewing. That's right, Georgetown: for a scant $310,000 per annum, I'll happily be the collective scapegoat for this sinking ship. You can spend the $2.8 million you save every year on something frivolous, like gold-plated backboards or adjunct professor salaries. Call me!
posted by Mayor West at 4:30 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]

Today I learned the actor I thought was Patrick Ewing is Patrick Duffy and he played Bobby Ewing. Awkward.
posted by hippybear at 7:18 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]

It’s kind of hard to figure out with Ewing. He was an assistant with Orlando long enough for people to sort of assume he’d be the next head coach, and then he wasn’t.

If there’s the standard terrible race based bullshit on display, fuck, I’ve got nothing but sympathy and solidarity for Ewing, and I hope he manages to find a place where he can shine and prove all this shit wrong, I really do.

On the other hand, as a Pistons and Bulls fan, what if, and this is just an idea… what if Ewing the coach is just as mediocre as Ewing the player, the one whose teams went further without him than they ever went with him?
posted by Ghidorah at 12:52 AM on January 30

Maybe Georgetown's under the table cash payments to recruits hasn't kept up with inflation the way that the SEC's payments have?
posted by NoMich at 6:55 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]

I think it's got a lot less to do with Ewing (or any individual Georgetown coach) than the changing dynamics in college basketball. Thompson built his program by getting local talent in the DC area (esp Prince George's county) and getting the Georgetown administration to look the other way at the academics (. The problem is recruiting has gone national in the last two decades, which means the home grown talent is getting pulled away from DC (in college football, the same thing is happening to FSU and Miami) and the Georgetown administration has been less accommodating to Thompson's successors on the academic side.

Ewing can't get the primo recruits that Thompson used to, and he can't keep them once he gets them because the academics are too overwhelming at Georgetown.
posted by Galvanic at 7:42 AM on January 30

I don't know if it's the academics any more, as opposed to recruits looking to maximize their playing time in as little time spent on campus as possible and looking for programs that are pipelines to the NBA. Even recruiting a player doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to stay at your school, especially so the last couple years where the restriction on transfers not playing for a year has been lifted because of covid. So, I think the changing dynamics of college basketball have an effect, but it's not just recruiting and academics. It almost seems like you want to have some mix of program guys that are going to stay 3+ years, guys that are super-talented and going to leave early, and maybe JuCo or foreign transfers that were unheralded coming out of high school. The schools that are heavily one-and-done (Kentucky, Duke) have had some success and get into the tournament every year, but have only hung a couple banners with that strategy.
posted by LionIndex at 8:08 AM on January 30

There's a table mid-article about coaches in similar positions as Ewing - you could almost write the same article about Penny Hardaway and Juwan Howard.
posted by LionIndex at 8:11 AM on January 30

I dont really think this is about Ewing so much as college basketball under the NCAA is losing its lustre. As mentioned before, there is a lot of international talent coming through them there was a few decades ago, the NBA is lifting its college restrictions so people can sign out of high school, there is the g-league ignite, which had 3 players in the last draft (2 in the top 10), and for all his deserved criticism and bombast, LaVar Ball pulling 2 of his kids out of school to play abroad got them both into the NBA, one of them being a prominent face in the new generation.

I don't know why it seems like I only see Ewing in the context of these coaching limbo discussions, but NBA bound players who wouod otherwise be one-and-done have more options than risking injury and academic discipline so a school can keep them unpaid and make money off their talent and likeness.

Whats that leave? Talented players with maybe a not NBA level ceiling who want a Georgetown degree, players wanting to finish school for other obligations (tim duncan, David Robinson), talented players that want more polish (steph curry, draymond green). Though even that last category will have more options in the future.

I don't necessarily think going straight to the NBA from high school is a great idea, and off the top of my head can only think of Kobe, Garnett and Lebron as people it worked out for, but I dont think 1 year of college added much to Kyries game (or his education, lol), nor do I think a year at LSU is the root of Ben Simmons issues.

I guess my rambling point is that top talent currently has better options than the NCAA pipeline, getting paid in other leagues and playing against professional talent earlier, and these early successes are only going to expand. That leaves a strong pool of D1 athletes, but players that need more time to develop, and just might not have those breakout bombastic, consensus-number-one-pick-since-high-school players.

Obviously there's a lot more nuance in that, I just don't get why it seems like (sonics legend) Ewing gets this brunt of criticism when the machinery underneath is changing very quickly and drastically.

As mentioned above, the article itself has a table of other coaches in the same position.
posted by lkc at 9:22 AM on January 30

don't know if it's the academics any more, as opposed to recruits looking to maximize their playing time in as little time spent on campus as possible and looking for programs that are pipelines to the NBA

Georgetown *was* a pipeline to the NBA under Thompson, with lots of players taken in the draft including two number one (Ewing himself and Allen Iverson). That slowed and then stopped when he retired (and well before Ewing arrived) and I'm betting it's because the administration didn't give as much academic latitude to the basketball program as they had under Thompson (just something as simple as suspending players academically at the midterm of the spring semester -- making them ineligible to play in the tournament -- makes a big difference to one and dones).

It'll be interesting to see if the same thing happens at Duke when Coach K retires.
posted by Galvanic at 9:38 AM on January 30

what if Ewing the coach is just as mediocre as Ewing the player,

I don't think you can call him mediocre as a player, he's universally acknowledged as one of the best 100 NBA players of all time, and was also one of the greatest college big men ever. Just because he didn't win it all (those other teams you mention also failed to win a title) doesn't mean he wasn't one of the top players of his era, and looking back his star still holds luster.
posted by chaz at 11:22 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]

Yeah, but there's the Patrick Ewing Theory that's been floating around almost as long as MetaFilter.
posted by LionIndex at 12:51 PM on January 30

what if Ewing the coach is just as mediocre as Ewing the player

Ewing the player is in the HOF, was on the All Star team 11 times, the All-NBA team 7 times, and was the Rookie of the Year in 85-86. In the years, he was there, the Knicks had a winning record 11 out of 16 times. The years after he left? 3 out of 21. That he didn’t win a championship in the same era as Bird, Johnson, and Jordan doesn't mean he was mediocre.
posted by Galvanic at 1:58 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]

"what if Ewing the coach is just as mediocre as Ewing the player"

He was no mediocre player. ESPN poll of players, coaches, etc had him ranked as 32nd best of all time. This is of course arguable, but he was EASILY in the top 50 of all time.
posted by jcworth at 8:45 AM on January 31

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