Patrick Ewing, 7-foot center from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, announced today that he will attend Georgetown next year.
Ewing, 18, considered by many to be the finest schoolboy player in the country, nervously read from a prepared statement as he announced his final choice in a Boston restaurant filled with more than 200 onlookers, 150 of them members of the media.
Mike Jarvis, Ewing's coach and confidant, requested that all questions be addressed to the "Ewing Commitee" consisting of Ewing's parents, Jarvis and Assistant Coach Steve Jenkins. Ewing left the room at Satch's Restaurant shortly after reading his statement.
"There is no doubt in my mind," Jarvis said in response to a question whether Ewing might change his mind, "that this is it." Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell has said, "If I were (Georgetown Coach) John (Thompson), I wouldn't relax until the day he registers for classes."
National letters of intent, committing a player to a school, cannot be signed before April 8 at 8 p.m.
Jarvis also said the coaches from the six schools courting Ewing -- Georgetown, North Carolina, Boston College, UCLA, Villanova and Boston University -- had not been notified of Ewing's decision before the press conference.
Thompson did not attend the press conference, although an NCAA enforcement spokesman said no rule forbids it. A rule does, however, forbid a coach from being photographed with a recruit.
Thompson was not available for comment yesterday. A Georgetown spokesman said the coach would not have an immediate statement about the announcement.
Jarvis introduced Ewing, who, in his tailored, pin-striped suit, looked like an oversized Wall Street businessman.
"Patrick will enter Georgetown in a liberal arts program and hopefully move into business management," said Jarvis. "He is considering the possibility that some day he will have a lot of money and he wants to manage it himself."
Ewing was so nervous he had to be calmed down by Jenkins as he read his statement. The youngster thanked all the coaches for being interested in his academic and athletic development, then finally arrived at the big moment.
"After considering all the facts," said Ewing, staring from behind at least 30 microphones, "I have decided to attend Georgetown University." At that point shrieks of joy came from several Georgetown alumni sitting in the back of the room, and Ewing had to stop, turning the press conference back to Jarvis.
Jarvis cited several reasons why Ewing, who has led Latin to two straight state championships, chose Georgetown.
Georgetown is away from his home, but not too far away. After visits to the six schools (after each of which he and the committee discussed the entire procedure), Ewing also said he felt most comfortable with the Georgetown campus, the neighborhood and the community.
The academic background and Thompson's reputation for emphasizing academics was critical, especially to Ewing's parents. "He will stay four years to get an education," his father said today.
The Big East Conference's growing national prominence made a difference. Jarvis also said recent allegations of point-shaving at the Big East's Boston College, an early favorite in the chase for Ewing, was not a factor and that the school was "very close."
Jarvis also said "the chance for Ewing to learn the center position from a man who played center" was a major factor (Thompson played pivot for Providence and the Boston Celtics). "Thompson is a man Pat can look up to and not look around," Jarvis said. Thompson is 6-10 and weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 pounds, 70 more than the muscular Ewing.
Jarvis said Ewing considered turning professional right out of high school, but decided against it after the NCAA Olympic trials last spring. "He picked himself off the floor the first six times and decided he needed four years and some more weight," Jarvis said.
"When we talked to him on Thursday, he said he had arrived at the decision but had been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. But we just couldn't tell the coaches. We couldn't take a chance on some do-gooder possibly trying to change his decision."
Ewing is averaging 23 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocked shots a game for Latin, which has a 14-0 record this season and has not lost a game in the state since Ewing began playing varsity baketball two years ago.
Of all the Ewing statistics, perhaps the most impressive is that he has passed for 10 or more assists on several occasions. Ewing is expected to start next year for Georgetown in a center-week conference. All five Hoya starters are due to return next season.
Ewing's announcement may also influence Dunbar 6-6 all-America Anthony Jones to attend Georgetown.Jones was not available for comment yesterday but his coach, Joe Dean Davidson said, "Ewing's decision has no bearing on what Anthony will do. Anthony's decision-making process has been tabled until the end of the season. He'll visit some more schools, then make a selection. But he is very strongly considering Georgetown."