By John Denton
March 24, 2017
ORLANDO – Long an advocate of Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing to land a NBA head coaching job, Stan Van Gundy is hopeful that his former assistant coach with the Orlando Magic lands the leading role at Georgetown University.
Ewing, now the associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets, is being considered to become the next head coach at Georgetown, his alma mater during his decorated college career from 1982-85, reported Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Ewing wrapped up his stellar, 17-year NBA career with the Magic in the 2001-02 season and he returned as a Magic assistant coach under Van Gundy – now the President of Basketball Operations and head coach of the Detroit Pistons – from 2007-2012. Van Gundy has always felt that Ewing has the necessary traits to be a NBA head coach because of his eagerness to work with players of all sizes and not just centers.
``Look, he’s a guy who spent a lot of time really working at it,’’ said Van Gundy, who worked with Ewing when the Magic reached the 2009 NBA Finals and the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. ``Didn’t want to just be a big-man guy or sort of the NBA guy who is just trying to get into the heads of guys. He wanted to do all the X-and-O stuff, all the game plan and game prep stuff and teach on the court. He can coach guards as well as bigs and he’s not limited. He’s a guy who has worked hard to become a good basketball coach, period, and he is that.
``He’d be great there (at Georgetown),’’ Van Gundy continued. ``I’d hope he’d get a shot in the NBA, but Georgetown might be the one job he’d consider.’’
Making such a move by be tricky for Ewing. The Hoyas recently fired John Thompson III, son of legendary coach John Thompson, who won a National Championship with Ewing at Georgetown in 1984. Also, Ewing’s son, Patrick Ewing Jr., worked on the same fired staff with Thompson III at Georgetown.
MEEKS AND THE MAGIC: The Magic and Jodie Meeks can’t help but wonder how things might have been different this season had the shooting guard avoided a couple of devastating injuries.
Meeks missed 45 games because of injuries – the first 19 of the season when he needed an additional surgery to repair a fracture in his foot and 26 from Jan. 20 through March 17 after fracturing the thumb on his left hand.
A team in desperate need of the 3-point shooting that a guard like Meeks can provide, the Magic have been a much better team with him healthy than when he’s been out. With Meeks on the floor for 26 games prior to Friday night, Orlando was 11-15 (.423 win percentage), scored 105.8 points per game and shot 45.9 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from 3-point range. In the 46 games that Meeks missed, Orlando was 15-31 (.326 win percentage), scored 97 points per game and shot 42.8 percent from the floor and 30.1 percent from 3-point range.
Friday was Meeks’ third game since returning from the thumb injury. The first game was a struggle (one-of-nine shooting, nine points), while he played much better on Wednesday (three 3-pointers, 10 points).
``Regardless of whether I’m making shots or not, I’m a threat. I think that’s good for the whole team,’’ Meeks said. And it’s always good to have a positive influence on your team. We felt like we should have won (on Wednesday), but we just got cold in the fourth quarter. But, as a team, we feel like we’re playing really good basketball now.’’
Orlando acquired Meeks from Detroit last June and Friday’s game was his first chance to play against his former Pistons’ teammates.
``You always want to play well against one of your former teams. But it’s just another game that you want to win,’’ Meeks said.
GREEN GIMPY, MORE MARIO: Veteran forward Jeff Green missed his second straight game on Friday because of spasms in his lower back. Aaron Gordon, who like Green was listed as question in the day leading up to the game, played despite a sore right hip that he originally injured on Monday and re-aggravated on Wednesday.
``He still has some soreness and they’re still working on some things,’’ Magic coach Frank Vogel said of Green and the Magic training staff. ``I just got an update with some words I didn’t really understand – medical words – so he’s just not ready. Out, that the word that I heard; he’s out.’’
Gordon winced on a dunk during Wednesday’s loss to Charlotte, but the injury to his hip actually came two days earlier when Orlando beat Philadelphia in overtime.
``I took an elbow to the hip and I didn’t really think anything of it. I kind of just tweaked it a little bit (in Wednesday’s pregame warmups),’’ Gordon said. ``I was dealing with it throughout the whole game (on Wednesday) and then on that dunk I stretched it a little too much. But it feels fine.’’
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