YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

PATRICK EWING'S SUPPORTING CAST : The Center and Coach Receive Most of Acclaim, but There's More Than 2 on the 'Town

March 29, 1985|MIKE LITTWIN | Times Staff Writer

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Patrick Ewing grabs the rebound and passes upcourt to Reggie Williams. Williams passes to David Wingate.

Or is it Wingate passing to Williams?

It is a question of more than passing interest.

Georgetown's is the most-scrutinized team in college basketball, and yet few people have any real idea who most of the players are. Fact is, they can't tell them apart. And not just the casual fan, either.

"It's the kind of program where, aside from Patrick, most of the players are faceless," said Pete Newell, basketball guru.

Rick Sund is the director of player personnel for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. He was asked to evaluate Georgetown's talent.

"To tell you the truth, I get 'em confused," he said.

Al Bianchi, assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns, said the Georgetown players "tend to blend together."

You get the idea. Georgetown is in the Final Four for the third time in four years and has come to Lexington heavily favored to win a second consecutive NCAA championship. Yet, the only Georgetown people who have left any lasting impression on the basketball world are Ewing, the Hoyas' All-American, and John Thompson, their coach.

Everyone else seems to be 6-6 with decent-to-good shooting skills, great quickness, good jumping ability and a willingness to sacrifice his body for the greater glory of John Thompson and Georgetown.

"They're hard to put into an individual frame so you can evaluate them," Newell said. "Offensively, they move the ball and the guy who gets the shot puts it up. In the transition game, the one that's open gets the shot. In five times down the court, five different Georgetown players might shoot. . . . Of course, they all play defense and they all play hard."

You're tempted to call them the no-name Hoyas, except that one starting forward is named Billy Martin and the starting point guard is Michael Jackson--the other Billy Martin and the other Michael Jackson, of course.

Still, these other guys must be pretty good players. Consider the evidence:

--In the Big East championship game, Ewing, beset by foul trouble, played only 19 minutes against St. John's, yet Georgetown not only won the game but also won going away.

--In the East Regional final, Ewing, again in foul trouble, sat out 12 minutes of the second half, and still Georgetown was able to beat Georgia Tech.

It got St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca to thinking. His team will play Georgetown Saturday in one semifinal, the fourth time this season these Big East rivals will have met. St. John's won the first time, by a point, but hasn't been very close since. In the last five halves, Georgetown has outscored the Redmen by 37 points.

"Maybe there was too much concentration on Ewing," Carnesecca said earlier in the week. "Maybe we ought to let Ewing get his bundle--he's going to get them anyway, right? We've put so much effort into stopping him that we made the other four guys accessible to what develops."

So, Carnesecca will put his center, Bill Wennington, on Ewing and try to play the other four guys head up.

"The other guys can play, you better believe it," said Tommy Heinsohn, former Boston Celtic player and coach turned CBS broadcaster. "They're all first-round draft choices in the NBA. You don't win all those games with one player."

Maybe you can if that player is Ewing, who will be the first player chosen by the NBA. You know all about his ferocity on defense and his rebounding and scoring ability. People liken him to Bill Russell, which says as much as needs to be said.

It all revolves around him, of course. Without Ewing, Georgetown would still be best known for its department of international affairs. But the other four guys, who are they? And how talented are they?

BILLY MARTIN--He's 6-7, 215 and plays the big forward position. A senior. Averages 12 points and 6 rebounds. The only starter from Washington, D.C. Not a great shooter but can make the short jump shot from the baseline. The pro scouts see him as a late first-round draft choice.

"I think he can play the small forward," scout Marty Blake said. "He's not a bad ball handler and he can shoot."

Newell said: "I like the way he plays defense and the way he goes to the boards in traffic. He's solid, doesn't do anything great. He can play in the NBA."

Heinsohn thinks he'll go late in the first round or early in the second. "He's played four years with Patrick, and it's easy to get overlooked," Heinsohn said. "He has all the offensive tools. It's hard to evaluate his shooting because he hasn't tried to shoot that often."

Sund said that someone will take him high because you have to like the way Georgetown players play the game. "They do a lot of things good, maybe nothing great," Sund said. "Martin is a winner. Sometimes people like that surprise you in the NBA."

Los Angeles Times Articles