(The Knicks, for what will hopefully become more than a summer tradition, recently signed Patrick Ewing, Jr. to another training camp contract. Ewing, who was selected 43rd by the SacKings in the 2008 NBA draft, had an excellent summer. Junior, as he is affectionately referred to by Knicks fans who watched him grow up and would love to see him play in the regular season, was impressive in the Orlando Summer league where he averaged 11.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Immediately thereafter he joined the Knicks in Las Vegas and averaged 4.8 points in 11.3 minutes per game. During the Las Vegas Summer League, Knicks Fanatics caught up with the Ewing, Jr., who was gracious and open to a wide ranging interview on topics from his NBA hopes to his father’s coaching and artistic abilities. )
Knicks Fanatics: How are you doing and feeling from your last injury?
Patrick Ewing, Jr.: I’m doing great. My leg has come a long way since I was last in New York. My leg is feeling great. It is 110% now. I’ve taken the whole year off instead of part of it which helped me get my strength back. I feel great. I’m in shape, lost a lot of weight. So everything is good for me,
How do you feel your game is coming along here with the Knicks after playing in the Orlando Summer League where you started a few games, correct?
Yeah, I started games in Orlando. My game is coming along fine. I think summer league is not about who starts or who finishes the game. You just want to get out there and play positively. You know you don’t want to play badly. In Orlando, I got to do a little bit more because my dad was obviously the coach so he let me loose a little bit, but at the same time management wanted to see me do a lot of things. The Magic wanted to see me do some more stuff, so they allowed me to play more of a role out there.
Out here [in Las Vegas] coach is definitely letting me do a lot of things. I’m playing the four out here, guarding threes. In the system here, the three and the four are almost like the same thing so it really doesn’t matter. I feel like I’m playing good out here. Coach D’Antoni is letting me play. He’s not restricting me from doing anything.
He tells me to get rebounds, push it, shoot the threes, shoot pull-ups, come off screens, do all type of stuff. I feel like I’m showing a lot of my game right now.
Your trademark, if I can say you have a trademark, is your hustle and hard play on both ends of the court. It looks like your shot is coming around. Are you talking to anyone about getting a spot on a team; how is it looking for you to play in the NBA next season?
My agent does all the talking to everyone all the GMs and coaches, so I’m personally not in talks with anybody. My agent talks to a lot of teams and a lot of teams have shown interest especially after my performance in Orlando. We already have offers to go over seas, but of course that is always the back-up. We’re looking forward to having a great rest of the summer league. Go to camp, maybe sign a contract before camp starts and take it from there.
Well to take it to another place, how do you think your dad’s chances of being a head coach are faring?
I think in due time he is going to get it. It’s kind of tough with the way the league is right now, especially this year with the free agency and all the other stuff. Teams weren’t really taking risks on new head coaches. I think that Tom Thibodeau might be the only new head coach I believe that got a job [this off-season]. I think that within the next couple of years that he will definitely get some interviews because I think he is a great coach. I wasn’t too sure about his coaching abilities until I played for him. [Lots of laughter] He puts in a lot of work. Being an assistant under Stan you’re forced to do a lot of work. Stan puts a lot of pressure on his assistant coaches and I think it’s better for them in the long run. I think after watching my Dad coach in the summer league, I think he has really good principles on the offensive and defensive end. He could be a good head coach in the league one day.
You’re cracking me up because you know your dad is a very hard worker and you take that after him.
Oh yeah, definitely. He’s definitely that and that’s one of his traits that will help him be a good head coach because he is going to work hard to make sure his team is working hard and not embarrass him.
Ok enough basketball for a minute. Does your dad still paint [as an artist]?
No. I haven’t seen him paint anything in a long time. But you know I’m pretty sure he still has that artistic ability. He actually surprised me. I remember coming home from school one day and watching him paint a picture, the one that they put on that Visa card. He surprised me how good of a painter he was, but I’m not sure if he does too much of it anymore. I think that as time goes on he’ll probably get back into it though.
Did you have any artistic talent at all?
Musically. I can play music by ear pretty well. I can play anything really. If I can get a hang of it, I can do really well. I’m a great Guitar Hero player. I don’t know if everyone wants to know that though. But I challenge everyone to Guitar Hero. I can do instruments but I usually stick to sports; that’s my love.
How was playing ball for another Jr., Mr. John Thompson, Jr.?
It was good. At first I didn’t want to go play for him because I didn’t want to deal with the ‘Ewing and Thompson again’.
Is that why you went to Indiana at first?
No, no not at all because he wasn’t coaching then. He was still at Princeton then. I just didn’t really want to go to Georgetown then, when Coach Thompson called me and asked me to take a visit, I said I could go and take a visit. I had a great time on my visit and coach talked me into coming. My future teammates talked me into playing with them. We made great things happen.
How did you like the system. I guess we called it the modified Princeton system?
Well, it wasn’t really modified. It was just that we had more athletes than the traditional Princeton offense. It was great. For me personally, it didn’t let me showcase all of my abilities but at the same time it made me a smarter basketball player. And I feel that has helped me out more now as a professional because I can see things that I wouldn’t have been able to see had I not gone to the school. I’m a better passer because of the offense. There were just a lot of things that made me better down the road that I appreciate more, but at the same time, do I feel like it held me back a little bit? Yeah, but if you go to any school unless you have the super green light you’re going to be held back a little bit. So I had no problem with the offense, It definitely took us to the Final Four. We won a Big East Championship, two regular season championship. So you know, I can’t complain about it at all.
I would be remiss not to ask you about the LeBron situation since it is on everyone’s mind and we could use the response of a smart guy?
I’m not mad at LeBron for going with Dwade and Chris Bosh. Everyone is talking about LeBron’s going to be a side kick right now, but regardless LeBron’s the best basketball player in the world, hands down. I think he went over the top with the show, but at the same time he used that for publicity. He got people to watch it. You could say whatever you want about the man, but he’s a smart business man. He knows what he’s doing. To help his brand he did what he felt he had to do. I definitely don’t blame him for what he decided.
What are you hearing or feeling about Dan Gilbert’s response?
I thought it was a little much. I understand that emotions are high. What he said was a little over the top, but at the same time if I was the owner of that team, his team went from being worth X amount of millions of dollars in a matter of an hour, a matter of seconds, I can understand where he’s coming from. At the same time some of the stuff he did like lowering the prices on the LeBron fathead to 17 something to Benedict Arnold’s birthday or something like that, some of that stuff is just over the top. It just shows that he is a dedicated man, dedicated to his team. Was it over the top yes, but I probably would have done the same
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