Only a year ago, Patrick Ewing and the man who would become his agent, David Falk, persuaded Georgetown Coach John Thompson that "good things would come" if Ewing stayed in school for his senior year, then waited for the National Basketball Association.
The wait finally ended on Sunday when the first NBA lottery gave the New York Knicks the right to draft Ewing. Yesterday, Ewing said he is relieved the lottery is over, is excited about being able to remain on the East Coast and has no regrets about staying at Georgetown the full four years.
"I'm really excited that the lottery process is all over," he said at a press conference on campus, also attended by Thompson and Falk. "I'm still trying to let the whole think sink in. I'm happy to be staying in the East, playing in a Big East town.
"I watched the whole thing on television in the (McDonough Arena) gym with Coach Thompson, Mr. Falk and Ms. (Mary) Fenlon (the Hoyas' academic adviser). I wasn't rooting for any particular team. I wanted to deal with whatever team is was. I was so anxious. I just wanted to get it over."
When asked what he did Saturday night, Ewing said: "I tried to stay away from everybody. People kept asking me questions about who would pick me, and getting me more nervous."
Ewing has nothing to be nervous about now, at least for awhile. He will graduate on May 26, and, afterward, probably will sign a contract that will pay him at least $1 million a year for several years.
Asked what he would do with so much money, Ewing said, "You know, I really haven't thought about it. I'll provide both me and my family with security. I never had a lot of money; I'll just play it by ear."
Ewing also talked about how he will handle the enormous expectations of New York fans who have flooded Madison Square Garden with ticket inquiries, expecting the Knicks to return to the lofty status they maintained through the early 1970s.
"When I came here, people said the same things," he said. "As long as I can do everything I can to help my team win, that's all I can ask of myself. I'm just going to do the best I can."
Thompson said, "I can say I felt pretty damn good yesterday after it was all over. I also know how much he's done. When it was all over I just jumped up and hugged him . . . I'm pleased if Pat is pleased. I'll be pleased if he's paid well, also. He's proven, habitually, that he gives 100 percent. You don't have to plead with Pat to play hard."
Asked what impact Ewing might have on the NBA, Thompson said, "What did he do for the Big East?"
Thompson discussed how much Ewing has meant to him and to Georgetown, which won one national title and was national runner-up twice in Ewing's four years.
"I think it will be damn difficult (without Ewing)," Thompson said. "I'm an emotional person. But one of the objectives of education is to not form a dependency."
Thompson had strongly advised Ewing to leave Georgetown after his junior season and enter the NBA draft. Thompson sought the advice of several attorneys who represent NBA players, including Falk, who represents Michael Jordan, an all-America who did leave college a year early.
"Of all the attorneys I talked to," Thompson said, "David Falk was the only person who emphatically said he should stay in school. Even though the coach in me wanted him to stay, I wanted Pat to leave, from a money standpoint. I debated and argued with David . . . We got into vicious arguments. I was really afraid and worried that he would lose a lot of money. David said he didn't think so, and I could see that David cared for the person and not just the money."
Ewing's response to Thompson's suggestion that he skip his final year of eligibility? "I thought he was crazy," Ewing said. "He knew I wanted to stay and finish school. I wasn't ready to go yet . . . I think I've grown a lot. I think now I'm capable of handling any pressures that might arise."
Of his decision to select Falk and Donald Dell (president of ProServ) to represent him, Ewing said, "I figured since Coach Thompson let them handle his money, and he's so tight with his, I figure they'll help me save mine."
Falk said Ewing might reach a "level unprecedented in pro basketball" in "off-the-court marketing, television commercials . . . Madison Avenue gives him much greater exposure (than if Ewing had been drafted by another team)."
Ewing said he hadn't thought about the life style he will lead in New York. "I haven't spent that much time there. The times we went, it was for business," he said, alluding to games against St. John's.
Yesterday provided quite a contrast to a similar scene four years ago, when Ewing announced at a press conference in Boston that he would attend Georgetown. "When I said I was going to Georgetown, about half the people left the room," he recalled.
Nobody left the room yesterday. Several of his Georgetown teammates were present, as were dozens of students, who cheered when Ewing said that of all his college accomplishments -- three Final Four appearances, one NCAA title, an Olympic gold medal, the NBA's No. 1 draft pick -- his favorite is graduating on time and "fullfilling a promise" he made to his late mother Dorothy.
Ewing obviously was excited about the future. "It will be an honor playing against Kareem, Julius, Moses and all of them," he said. "I hope Bernard King (the NBA's leading scorer) comes back from the serious knee injury he's had."
In what will probably be his final public appearance as a Georgetown student, Ewing said he will remain close to his school, and to Thompson. "He's been a coach to me for four years," Ewing said. "I hope now, we'll be good friends." Thompson Is Staying
Georgetown basketball Coach John Thompson, who has been mentioned recently as a possible successor to Lenny Wilkens as coach of the Seattle SuperSonics, said yesterday he has no plans to leave his current job.
Wilkens, now general manager of the SuperSonics, said last week if Seattle was fortunate enough to win the lottery for Patrick Ewing, he also would love to have Thompson as his coach.
"I have been contacted by three professional teams, two of which were not in the lottery," Thompson said yesterday at the press conference for Ewing. "But at this point and time I'm not ready to leave Georgetown."