After his Georgetown workforce misplaced at Xavier on Saturday night time to set a Large East Convention file for futility, a solemn Patrick Ewing walked by way of the handshake line and shook fingers with Xavier Coach Travis Steele, his workers and the Musketeers gamers.
Ewing retreated to the guests’ locker room for his postgame information convention and as soon as once more answered questions on a loss — on this case the boys’s basketball program’s twentieth straight and twenty fourth of the season — and whether or not his gamers have been “nonetheless holding onto the rope” and “nonetheless within the combat.”
“Yeah, they’re nonetheless within the combat, you understand, I imagine so,” Ewing stated. “We’re positively dissatisfied within the end result of our season. This isn’t nowhere the place I anticipated us to be, or the group as an entire anticipated us to be. However it’s what it’s.”
Ewing, the Naismith Corridor of Fame heart, who was the face of the Knicks within the Eighties and ’90s, has skilled his share of dramatic wins and losses, however he is by no means endured such a protracted stretch of frustration and failure.
Georgetown (6-24) turned the primary workforce in Large East historical past — which started through the 1979-80 season — to complete a season 0-19 in convention play. Two different groups completed 0-18, most just lately DePaul through the 2008-9 season.
Approaching the top of his fifth season, there are questions on Ewing’s future at Georgetown. Ewing, 59, has a 68-83 file and only one profitable season, in 2018-19. The Hoyas would be the No. 11 seed and face no. 6 Seton Corridor when the Large East Event begins Wednesday at Madison Sq. Backyard, the positioning of lots of Ewing’s biggest skilled moments.
On Friday, Ewing took to Twitter to say he had no plans to stop after this season.
“Any announcement about my future will come from me or Georgetown College,” he wrote.
He reiterated that sentiment after Saturday’s loss.
Lee Reed, Georgetown’s athletic director, gave Ewing a vote of confidence final week, saying the college was “dedicated to” Ewing and had “confidence that he can strengthen our program going ahead.”
“As a college with excessive requirements and expectations for each educational and athletic excellence, all of us share the frustration of a tough season,” Reed stated.
He added, “I want to thank all of our supporters and season-ticket holders for his or her ongoing dedication and specific my appreciation to the members of our workforce for his or her onerous work.”
It was solely a 12 months in the past when a joyous and victorious Ewing strolled into the Georgetown locker room on the Backyard singing Drake lyrics.
After being picked to complete final within the convention’s preseason coaches ballot, the Hoyas had simply overwhelmed Creighton within the Large East match championship recreation, incomes an automated bid within the NCAA match — this system’s first berth for the reason that 2014-15 season.
“Began from the underside, now we’re right here,” Ewing sang to his gamers, who quickly didused him with water and joined him in celebration.
It quickly turned a feel-good story across the school basketball world, with Iona Coach Rick Pitino, Ewing’s former coach with the Knicks within the mid-Eighties, tweeting an image of the 2 of them and providing congratulations.
Now, Pitino has a distinct message for Ewing amid his struggles.
“I like Patrick, cherished teaching him, love him as an individual, love him as a participant, root for him on a regular basis,” Pitino stated. “I do not know what to say in regards to the state of affairs aside from I am an enormous fan of Patrick.”
It wasn’t that way back that there was optimism for Georgetown’s long-suffering followers, who have not seen a championship since Ewing’s taking part in days.
Along with profitable the Large East match final season, Ewing additionally pulled right into a top-20 recruiting class, in line with 247Sports rankings, highlighted by the five-star wing Aminu Mohammed.
However the Hoyas misplaced their high 4 scorers from final 12 months’s NCAA match workforce, together with the massive man Qudus Wahab, who transferred to Maryland, the place he was averaging 7.9 factors and 5.7 rebounds by way of Sunday.
As a workforce, Georgetown ranks final within the Large East in subject purpose share and factors allowed per recreation and close to the underside in scoring.
“It is simply robust when you do not have quite a lot of returning gamers that performed final 12 months,” stated Donald Carey, a graduate scholar guard who’s the workforce’s second-leading scorer this 12 months after being its fifth-leading scorer final season.
He continued: “The chemistry wasn’t there precisely; the identical chemistry and momentum wasn’t there as a result of it was simply me and Dante that performed heavy minutes which might be returning,” referring to the sophomore level guard Dante Harris, who’s averaging 12.3 factors, 4.2 assists and a pair of.6 turnovers per recreation.
Carey scored 17 factors when the Hoyas misplaced to Colorado within the first spherical of the 2021 NCAA match, however except Georgetown pulls off a miracle and wins the Large East match, he will not get to style March Insanity once more.
“It has been robust, it has been robust,” Carey stated. “Dropping is rarely straightforward, however the one method to get out of it’s with forward-minded considering so that you simply have a look at the subsequent day, the subsequent recreation, what can we do to get higher. What can we do to get a win?”
Wealthy Chvotkin, who’s in his forty eighth 12 months because the radio voice of Georgetown basketball and lined all 143 of Ewing’s school video games, stated he is by no means seen something like this season.
“The underside line, it is a very younger workforce,” he stated in a telephone interview. “It is a work in progress that they simply have bother ending video games. All this stuff that they have been fighting at recreation’s finish have resulted in losses they usually simply struggled to play 40 minutes. They play 32, they play 36 nicely they usually do not end at recreation’s finish.”
Ewing has additionally struggled with retaining gamers throughout his tenure, dropping 11 gamers to transfers as of June 2021. A few of these gamers at the moment are starring elsewhere. James Akinjo, who started his profession at Georgetown, is now on his third school cease and averaging 13.1 factors and 5.8 assists for Baylor, which gained a share of the Large 12 common season title with Kansas.
Earlier than the season started, Tre King, a 6-7 ahead who had spent three seasons at Jap Kentucky, left Georgetown with out ever taking part in a recreation due to an off-court incident.
King averaged 14.9 factors and 6.2 rebounds per recreation and earned All-Ohio Valley Convention first-team honors through the 2020-21 season. He possible would have been a key participant for Georgetown, however he transferred to Iowa State in December.
Ewing additionally misplaced the freshman guard Jordan Riley to shoulder surgical procedure through the season. The junior guard Wayne Bristol Jr., who transferred from Howard in January, was not eligible to play this semester.
“In fact, it makes it tough,” Ewing stated. “Guys that you simply thought weren’t going to get quite a lot of minutes or have been going to have alternatives to develop, they weren’t given that chance. I needed to throw them into the fireplace.”
The world often known as the DMV— DC, Maryland and Virginia—is understood for its high-level basketball expertise, from Adrian Dantley to Kevin Durant to Michael Beasley to present school gamers just like the Duke freshman guard Trevor Keels, a projected NBA draft decide.
Harris, Mohammed (who was born in Nigeria) and Carey are among the many Georgetown gamers from the world, however the faculty hasn’t signed a DC Gatorade Participant of the 12 months since Chris Wright in 2007.
Angelo Hernandez, a neighborhood grass-roots coach and a former highschool coach, believes the Hoyas must do a greater job getting in on native stars early.
“I do not know what it’s, it simply looks like Georgetown cannot get out the funk of getting the children from our space,” he stated in a telephone interview. “I simply suppose that they must take a distinct method and never be afraid to recruit these youngsters onerous. They recruit the children from out of city onerous, however they do not recruit the children from right here onerous.”
As a dominant school massive man within the early Eighties, Ewing dominated the Large East together with the St. John’s star Chris Mullin. Ewing helped lead the Hoyas to a few nationwide championship video games in his 4 seasons, guiding this system to the 1984 title below the Corridor of Fame coach John Thompson.
Like Ewing, Mullin returned to his alma mater to teach. He faltered in his four-year tenure, going 59-73 and 20-52 within the Large East with one NCAA match look earlier than stepping down in 2019.
Ewing is now in an identical place.
With the Large East match set to start Wednesday, there’s at all times the hope that Georgetown might someway make one other miraculous run, one which ends with Ewing singing Drake within the locker room as soon as once more.
“It is a new season, something is feasible,” Ewing stated.
Added Carey: “The Large East match is simply 4 video games, so if we win 4 video games, we’re again within the NCAA match.”