Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Patrick Ewing wants Georgetown’s Jessie Govan to show he’s an NBA talent
By ADAM ZAGORIANEW YORK — Patrick Ewing spent four years at Georgetown before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.
In today’s age of one-and-dones, Ewing never would have lasted that long on campus.
And now Ewing hopes Georgetown’s current center, Jessie Govan, can get to the NBA as soon as he’s ready, too.
“I’ve been riding him a lot trying to get the best out of him,” Ewing said Tuesday after Govan went for 18 points and 13 rebounds, including the game-deciding three-pointer in a 69-66 win over Chris Mullin and St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. “And “I told him this is the time of the year if he wants to try to get to the next level, these are the times he has to play at his best and in the second half he played at his best.”
The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Govan, the Queens native and former Wings Academy star, is averaging 18.1 points and 12.4 rebounds. Georgetown (12-4) enters Saturday’s game at Seton Hall (14-3), when the 1992-93 Pirates team will be honored.
Govan is viewed as an NBA prospect and has appeared on various mock drafts. One NBA scout said his stock is on the rise.
“Much improved, has lost a great deal of weight,” one scout said. “Moving up on most boards.”
Govan said Ewing has encouraged him to be aggressive, which he was in taking a critical three-pointer with 25 seconds left against St. John’s.
“I definitely wanted to take that shot,” he said. “We’re in the Garden and all that so I’m glad I made it.”
Still, when the double-team comes, Govan is also ready to make the extra pass.
“He just told me to play my game, be aggressive,” he said of Ewing. “He knows a lot of teams are going to double-team me now, I just gotta be prepared for that. I try my best to work off of that, find open shooters and things like that.”
For all of Govan’s offensive skills, Ewing wants to see him develop his defensive intensity.
“Two different type players,” Ewing said at Big East Media Day. “I think his offense is a lot better than mine at that stage and my defense is a lot better than his.”
Said Govan: “We’ve really been working on a lot of defensive stuff, rebounding stuff. He knows I could score the ball real well so he wasn’t really concerned about that as much. But he’s still showing me some tricks on the low blocks and stuff.”
If he continues to work at his craft and develop on both ends, Govan may get to follow his current coach’s path to the NBA.
“That’s all predicated on what he wants to do,” Ewing said. “He has a lot of talent, but he has to continue to work.”
Photo: Steven Ryan/Newsday
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.