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Patrick Ewing leads Hoyas to a dominating season-opener against Jacksonville

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Patrick Ewing leads Hoyas to a dominating season-opener against Jacksonville

WASHINGTON — Patrick Ewing led Georgetown to the pinnacle of college basketball, then had a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. His first game back at his alma mater as coach, though, provided him an entirely new experience.

"As a player, I never really got nervous," Ewing said. "As a coach, I got nervous. The biggest difference is I'm counting on these guys. As a player, I'm counting on myself."

Cheered loudly in his return to Georgetown, Ewing led the Hoyas to a 73-57 win over Jacksonville on Sunday in his sideline debut.

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With playing rival Michael Jordan and fellow Georgetown alumni Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Otto Porter Jr. in the arena, along with his former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, Ewing began his first head coaching job at any level.

"I had a lot of friends here," Ewing said. "It meant a lot to me, too, because they showed up to support me."

It also was a sign of how deep Ewing's influence runs at his alma mater more than three decades since he last played for the Hoyas.

"I always tell people I would not have been in the NBA if it wasn't for Patrick Ewing," Mutombo said. "He took Alonzo Mourning and I and told us what it takes to get to the next level. I told him I'm one phone call away. If I have to jump on a flight to D.C., I'll be here."

Spectators cheered when Ewing walked onto the floor for the first time, about 10 minutes before the opening tipoff. Moments later, Ewing was given an ovation when the spotlight fell on him as he was introduced after the Hoyas' starters.

Jessie Govan led the way for the Hoyas (1-0) with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Marcus Derrickson also scored 20.

"The whole team really wanted to get a win in his first game," Govan said. "That was a real big goal of ours."

JD Notae had 18 points for Jacksonville (0-2).

Ewing is the Hoyas' career rebounding and blocks leader and ranks second in points. He led Georgetown to three Final Four appearances and the 1984 national championship under coach John Thompson Jr.

Thompson's son, John Thompson III, was fired after consecutive losing seasons, the school's first such skid since enduring three in a row in the early 1970s.

After his playing career, Ewing was an assistant coach in the NBA for 15 years, including a stint on Van Gundy's staff in Houston.

"I think the biggest thing is you have to find your voice," Van Gundy said. "He's got his voice. He's very commanding and demanding. The thing I think that is so critical is you can be demanding, but you have to be incredibly personable, which he is. ... He's very comfortable with who he is, and that's a big step."

BIG PICTURE

Jacksonville: The Dolphins completed a rough opening weekend that began with a 96-67 loss to UAB. They won't face a high-major foe again until Dec. 22 at N.C. State. "I think it's going to juice our practices a little bit because we've gone out and seen what the world has to offer," Jacksonville coach Tony Jasick said.

Georgetown: The Hoyas held Jacksonville to 32.7 percent shooting, including just 23.3 percent in the first half. "We understand it's the first game, but the way they're playing, it's just taking me back to the `80s and `90s when the old man (Thompson Jr.) was here," Mutombo said.

UP NEXT

Jacksonville: The Dolphins meet North Carolina A&T in their home opener on Saturday.

Georgetown: The Hoyas continue their season-opening three-game homestand as Mount St. Mary's visits Wednesday.

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.

Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.

Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing.  At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.

Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.

Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.

Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.

Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.