By: Tyler Byrum
Patrick Ewing’s second season with the Georgetown Hoyas will begin in a few months. After a 15-15 season that placed the Hoyas in eighth place in the Big East, you can expect progression this season. The Hoyas experienced an up-and-down year in 2017. But Ewing and the Hoyas made it through the year relatively unscathed.
At the same time, last season Ewing and the Hoyas had one of the worst non-conference schedules in the entire country. Before Big East play began, reporters jokingly called the Georgetown ‘Champion of the MEAC’, and Jeff Goodman doubled down with this tweet:
Butler comes away with the win in double overtime at Georgetown. Welcome to the Big East. It's not the MEAC.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 28, 2017
Nevertheless, the schedule got the team to a .500 record in Ewing’s first go-around as head coach of his alma mater. Year one was pivotal for him. Now, he’s is looking for positive momentum that will help Georgetown return to the successful days of the past.
As he told the Washington Post last year, “It has diminished in some aspect, but like everything, it’ll come back,” he said. “We’re the phoenix. We’re rising. We’re rising out of the ashes.”
Since that time, the 56-year-old coach has positioned the team well for success in the 2018-19 season. In addition to the high-flying dunking sensation Matt McClung committing to the program, Jessie Govan, their leading scorer, returns after flirting with the decision to go to the NBA.
Although not fully released, this year’s schedule is already stronger than the last. Early on in the year, the team will travel to the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic, Ewing’s home country.
“I am really looking forward to bringing my Georgetown team to my birthplace,” Ewing said in a press release. “We hope to bring some great basketball and excitement to Jamaica.”
They join a field that includes the University of South Florida, Ohio University, and Campbell. Announcing a home-and-home series with Southern Methodist from the American Athletic Conference, and the continuation of their deal with Syracuse, they add two teams that have recent NCAA Tournament experience.
It would be hard to say he is not under pressure entering his second year. His team last year could hold their own early against some of the better teams in their conference, like Butler and Xavier, but in the second half of games poor execution errors and mind-numbing decisions plagued his team.
‘Coach emeritus’ John Thompson is not afraid to speak out on what is expected for the former All-American center.
“Patrick will get fired if he doesn’t win,” Thompson told The Washington Post. “I would have gotten fired if I hadn’t won. Oh, they talk about my graduation rate and Big John, [communicating] with the kids and all that kind of stuff they say. But it wouldn’t have meant a damn thing if I hadn’t have won, here at Georgetown or any other place.”
As stated in the New York Times, that winning is a step by step process.
“One of the things I’ve tried to tell people is that this is not going to happen overnight — it’s a step-by-step process,” Ewing said. “It’s not Patrick Ewing the player walking through the door. But you can say my goal here is to be as successful as Coach Thompson.”
As far as Coach Thompson’s coaching resume is concerned, his second season had the Hoyas finishing again with a .500 record. It was not until his third year that Georgetown made it to the NCAA Tournament.