Patrick Ewing was a legendary NBA player who, like Charles Barkley, was haunted by never winning the big one in his professional career. But Ewing did have at least one other title under his belt, and he won it at Georgetown thanks to a brilliant 1983-84 season that led to the school's first, and only, national championship.
Twenty-six years ago today, Ewing and Georgetown topped Hakeem Olajuwon's Houston Cougars 84-75 to win the 1984 NCAA title. Ewing and Olajuwon battled to a near-draw, while the supporting cast of each team stepped up. The Hoyas just had a better showing, and dispatched the last of the "Phi Slama Jama" teams at Houston.
Ewing, who was in his junior season, finished the game with 10 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four blocks. He was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. Olajuwon had 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. He was just months from the Rockets selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft.
With Ewing stymied offensively, Georgetown got a boost off the bench from Reggie Williams. The freshman forward had 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while fellow freshman reserve Michael Graham poured in 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and had several thunderous dunks. Graham wound up on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a result of his performance.
The title was validation for long-time Hoyas coach John Thompson, who was in his 12th season at the school. After years of tournament disappointments, he finally broke through.
After the title, Ewing returned to school for his senior season. Georgetown was ranked No. 1 for most of the 1984-85 season, but suffered a heartbreaking loss to Big East rival Villanova in the national title game. Ewing then wound up being selected by the New York Knicks with the first pick in the 1985 NBA Draft and went on to a brilliant NBA career.
Georgetown has never again managed to reach those heights again. Ewing has returned to campus as the head basketball coach and is certainly trying to get the program back there.