It’s hard to imagine now the impact that Patrick Ewing had on college basketball in the mid 1980s.
He enrolled at Georgetown and as a freshman was an absolute sensation. His shot-blocking skills reminded people of Bill Russell, but he played with a ferocity rarely seen. In one NCAA tournament game against a PAC-12 team, we think Oregon or Oregon State, Ewing blocked a shot, sprinted down court and beat the entire opposing team for a massive dunk.
The game was over in the first five minutes.
We may not be quite right about this, but we think we remember Georgetown at some point in Ewing’s career holding Kentucky to seven second-half points.
The Hoyas had a combination of John Thompson’s combativeness and Ewing’s ferocity and desire to to win.
Ewing played in an era that saw himself, James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon all stay at least three years in college - inconceivable today.
This video features the 1984 championship game between Georgetown and Houston and the battle between young big men Ewing and Olajuwon. Olajuwon, in our opinion, became a much better NBA player. Ewing remained great but in a different way. He lost his almost shocking quickness but became a tremendous offensive force and the focus of the Knicks offense for his entire career.
Their rivalry was one of the greatest in the history of the NBA.