The late John Thompson Sr. had already built Georgetown into an NCAA Tournament team by the time Patrick Ewing arrived in 1981, but the 7-foot center from Jamaica by way of Cambridge, Massachusetts, took the Hoyas to a whole new level. Ewing now coaches Georgetown, and fellow alum Dikembe Mutombo’s son may give the Hoyas the same sort of lift.
Patrick Ewing began an impressive line of Georgetown big men
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Georgetown has already gone to the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball in three consecutive seasons under John Thompson Sr. before Patrick Ewing’s arrival, but the Hoyas were playing primarily what would be considered “small ball” today. That changed when the 7-foot Ewing became the key piece at both ends of the floor.
Ewing was not a dominant scorer at 15.3 points a game over four seasons, but he was a rebounder and an intimidating shot blocker, and Georgetown rode him to one NCAA championship and two other trips to the final.
Ewing also served as a recruiting poster. The way he elevated the Hoyas helped Thompson to get into the homes of recruits of post players who were previously inaccessible. In the decade that followed, Michael Graham, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Othella Harrington were among the big men who kept the program among the Division I elites.
Dikembe Mutombo was something special
Of all the low-post players who followed, Dikembe Mutombo may have been most similar to Patrick Ewing. The 7-foot-2 center was also foreign-born – he is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and long and lean. As good a defender as Ewing was, Mutombo may have been even more intimidating in the paint. Though another relatively modest scorer, Mutombo averaged 4.4 blocks a game over his final two college seasons.
The Denver Nuggets picked Mutombo No. 4 overall in the 1991 draft. He made an immediate impact that began with making the NBA All-Star team as a rookie. He played 1,196 regular-season games over 18 seasons. His career averages of 9.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks a game are deceptive because of limited minutes over his final seven seasons.
However, he was a four-time Defensive Player of the Year in his pro career and earned induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2015.
Patrick Ewing takes Georgetown back to the future
Back-to-back losing seasons under John Thompson Jr. prompted Georgetown to turn to Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing to take over as the basketball coach in 2017. Ewing is 49-46 in three seasons, but he may now have an inside presence to build around.
That’s because Ryan Mutombo, the son of Georgetown legend and two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo, announced over the weekend that he has committed to play for Georgetown beginning next year.
Ryan Mutombo is a 6-foot-11, 235-pound prospect out of Atlanta. The 247Sports.com rankings list him as the No. 14 center and No. 80 prospect overall in the current senior class. ESPN ranks him as 15th and 94th, respectively.
The website said other schools in the mix included Florida State, Georgia, Stanford, and Tennessee. His decision to attend Georgetown upholds a tradition of legacy recruits. Ewing and Alonzo Mourning have also had sons play for the Hoyas.