|Patrick Ewing - the son - aiming to make own name|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 28 May 2008 22:12|
Michael Jordan is here, scouting for talent. Larry Bird's seat is in the front row near midcourt. Pat Riley is on his way, too.
Playing in the presence of - and simply being near - some of basketball's all-time biggest names can be intimidating.
Of course, when your name is Patrick Ewing Jr., it's not exactly a big deal anymore.
``I'm used to being around them, but in more of a social setting, not me trying to impress them so they pick me to play on their team,'' said Ewing, the son of the longtime NBA star center who'll enter the Basketball Hall of Fame later this year. ``In that sense, it is like shocking. But if I was to be out there just talking to them, it'd be different.''
This week, Ewing's play will do the talking.
He's just like everyone else at the camp going on through Friday at the Disney complex near Orlando, trying to show an arena full of NBA scouts, executives and coaches that he does belong in their league. And that quest got off to a fine start Wednesday, when in his first game of the week, Ewing scored 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting and helped his team win its opener of the three-game mini-league.
``I hope he improves his draft position,'' said Patrick Ewing Sr., now an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic. ``That's what this week is all about, improving his draft position.''
So far, so good in that quest.
If nothing else, his play Wednesday might have shown that his chance to vie for an NBA opportunity came on his own merits as a player, not the surname on the back of his jersey.
``I would hope so,'' Ewing said, when asked if he truly believes he has NBA talent. ``They wouldn't have invited me to the camp if I didn't.''
Ewing, who transferred from Indiana and finished his collegiate career at Georgetown - again, having to do so in his father's shadow, something the 24-year-old got used to many years ago - had two steals and two rebounds to go with his 14 points in 20 minutes Wednesday.
He looked smooth and poised, and was one of only four players in his game not to be charged with a turnover.
``All he has to do is be himself,'' the elder Ewing said. ``If he just is himself, he'll be fine. Come out, play hard, do the same things that got him to this point and the chips will fall where they may. ... He's been around me long enough to know that.''
Some mock drafts suggest that Ewing, who averaged 6.1 points and 4.2 rebounds this past season for the Hoyas, might not hear his name called on draft night.
If that's the case, the Ewing clan might not mind - that will give them the flexibility to sign as a free agent and, perhaps, choose where the son of the NBA legend tries to break into the league.
``I feel like I'm able to help teams win games,'' said Ewing, a forward who, at 6-foot-8, stands at least four inches shorter than his father and isn't anywhere near big enough to play center. ``I'm willing to do whatever. Even if it doesn't involve me being on the court, I still want to win the games.''
Father and son have both been asked often this week about the notion of Ewing Jr. perhaps playing with the Knicks, where his dad starred for years, or even teaming up in Orlando.
Naturally, neither would mind if this story ended with them on the same sideline.
``To be honest with you, it wouldn't bother me any,'' Ewing Jr. said. ``I'm sure a lot of people would have a lot to say about it, but I've been dealing with criticism my whole life, so that wouldn't be a big thing for me.''