As 10 years without an NCAA Tournament run past the second round went by for the Georgetown men’s basketball team, a fan base of Hoya Madness slowly transformed into Hoya sadness. The coach running the helm, John Thompson III, increasingly failed to lead his team to success under the shadow of his father’s 1984 National Championship.
The 2016-17 season was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Georgetown (14-18, 5-13 Big East) won three straight Big East contests to improve to 13-10 after January 31st but faltered later on. While many fans believed the Hoyas controlled their own destiny to March Madness, they went the other direction, losing eight of their last nine contests and causing outcry both on the Hilltop and nationally.
Finally, after 13 seasons with Thompson, including three of the last four without play in the NCAA Tournament, the time came. Mediocre play under high expectations could no longer be justified. Georgetown parted ways with Thompson to regain success.
Athletic Director Lee Reed and Georgetown alumnus and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (CAS ’62) led the search for the next head coach.
Potential names surfaced the rumor mill, including Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Texas’ Shaka Smart, Rhode Island’s Danny Hurley and Xavier’s Chris Mack. In the end, the coaches stayed with their current programs and the Hoyas looked elsewhere.
The search ended with someone near and dear to the Hoya pride, one of the biggest components of its sole national championship run, along with Coach Thompson Jr. The Hoyas matched with NBA Hall of Fame player and former Hoya Patrick Ewing (COL ’85).
For the first time, in what seemed forever like, Georgetown regained the spotlight. On campus and across the sports world, students and the media  raved about the new hire, the return to the Hilltop for arguably the greatest Hoya ever.
At the press conference, reporters asked Ewing about his new plan of attack in coaching and recruiting for the Hoyas. Ewing responded, “I haven’t even started working yet.” But soon enough, his work had started. Days later, Ewing flew to Connecticut to meet with former Georgetown commit Tremont Waters in hopes of getting him to recommit.
Ewing realized that to keep the spotlight, the team would need to perform like in the good old days. So, after assembling his coaching staff, he went out and recruited. Ewing’s first commit came with point guard Jahvon Blair from Canada. Blair’s passing ability and 6-foot-4 stature makes him an ideal combo guard for Georgetown, especially since graduate student and junior guards Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak are not returning.
The Hoyas then landed another guard to pair with Blair — South Dakota graduate student transfer Trey Dickerson. Dickerson provides Georgetown specifically with point guard depth.
Finally, Ewing signed New Mexico decommit, Chris Sodom, a four-star center for the Class of 2017,  providing the team with much needed size following Bradley Hayes’ departure
The recruiting class of Blair, Dickerson and Sodom, as well as three-star wing Antwan Walker  seems to be completed. While the Hoyas have two more open scholarships, one more graduate transfer and a possible recommitment from Waters are most realistic to fill the spots.
Georgetown knew that with a coach like Ewing at the helm, high school players looking to
get to the pros would pick up the phone for the Hall of Fame player. His reputation has brought life and relevance back to an ailing program. The upcoming season may be one for rebuilding, and a hold-over until Ewing gets a full pool of players to recruit from.
But one thing is certain — with Ewing there is hope, something that Georgetown has not had in years. And with Ewing, a new and intriguing chapter in the storied history of Hoyas basketball has begun.

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