College basketball was really different in the 1980’s. First, relatively few players left early and most guys stayed through their junior years.
There were also some incredible big men in the 1980’s: Ralph Sampson, Sam Bowie who never quite reached his potential due to injuries, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing.
All of them had great moments in the decade but no one had the same impact as Ewing.
When he got to Georgetown, everyone knew that Ewing was going to be great. But we’re not sure anyone expected him to, for a time, look like a latter day Bill Russell.
The young Ewing had four main gifts, aside from his height.
First, he ran faster than most guards. It wasn’t uncommon to see him block a shot and then dunk at the other end.
Second, he could really jump.
Third, he was powerful.
And fourth, he could dominate a game just by blocking shots.
Watch here and see how quickly he does that and how quickly he can put a rebound back in the basket, or how impossible it is to stop him when he decides to dunk.
He was a very, very good NBA player but he was never this mobile again.