When Corey Ewing moved into her New South room in August, her arrival created more buzz than that of an average freshman. The excitement, however, had less to do with her, and more to do with the man carrying her luggage: her 7-foot father.
Patrick Ewing graduated from Georgetown in 1985 after an illustrious basketball career during which he led the team to Georgetown’s only NCAA championship and two other title game appearances. He left his mark in the record books — not only as Big Man U’s original Big Man, but also as the program’s all-time leading rebounder and shot blocker. He played for 17 seasons in the NBA, won two Olympic gold medals and was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
To this day, Georgetown students proudly chant Ewing’s name whenever his picture flashes across the jumbotron at Verizon Center. But for his daughter, No. 33’s success on the court is secondary.
“I didn’t even really know that my dad was this famous person until middle school,” Corey Ewing said. “My friends started saying, ‘Oh my God, do you know what your dad [did]? I heard my parents talking about your dad,’ and stuff like that.”
Not only is her father a Georgetown legend, but Corey’s older brother, Patrick Ewing Jr., played basketball at Georgetown for two seasons from 2006-2008 after transferring from Indiana. By virtue of her family connections, the Hilltop has been like a second home for Corey.
Ewing isn’t the only child of basketball royalty currently enrolled at Georgetown. Senior Evan Floyd and sophomore Riyan Williams also bear the names of former Hoya greats. As the children of some of the most iconic Georgetown basketball players, these students share a place in a unique Hoya family tree.
Preceding Patrick Ewing by three years, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd played for the Hoyas from 1978-1982 and is Georgetown’s all-time leading scorer with 2,034 points. He was part of the 1982 squad that made it to the NCAA championship game before famously falling to Michael Jordan’s North Carolina Tar Heels. The star guard went on to play in the NBA for 13 seasons, earning numerous accolades and a spot on the 1987 NBA All-Star team.
Reggie Williams donned the Blue and Gray in 1983 as a talented freshman forward and starred for the Hoyas for four years. As a freshman he helped the Ewing-led 1984 Georgetown squad to the national title. When Williams was a senior, he led a young Hoya squad to the Big East Championship, earning the team the moniker “Reggie and the Miracles” from then-Head Coach John Thompson Jr. In scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, Williams ranks among the school’s all-time leaders. He was drafted fourth overall in the 1987 NBA draft and spent 10 years in the league.
These three players elevated the reputation of Georgetown basketball, something that current Georgetown something that current Head Coach John Thompson remembers well.
“They put a lot of hard work — blood, sweat and tears — into the program and they received a lot from the institution as well,” Thompson III said. “When I think of Sleepy, I think of John Duren, Craig Shelton, that [were all] a part of the group that kind of got Pop’s teams jump-started as it relates to national attention.”
Like Corey, Evan and Riyan, Thompson himself is part of a Georgetown basketball dynasty. His father was the head coach of the Hoyas from 1972-1999 and coached the three aforementioned stars. Despite his history, Thompson doesn’t put too much thought into living up to his father’s coaching success.
“The nature of the job is that there is pressure. So the pressure is with the job and I don’t think that anyone would put any more pressure on me than myself as it relates to this program,” he said. “I’ve been John Thompson’s son my whole life.”
Like Thompson, Evan Floyd, who is 6’3”, doesn’t let his father’s success define him, though he considered trying to join the basketball team as a walk-on during freshman year.
“I met with [Thompson] about trying out for the team or managing it. … When I came in there weren’t any other spots so he was like, ‘You can manage for a year and then try to walk on.’ And then after talking about it with my dad, managing wasn’t for me,” Floyd said.
Riyan Williams, who is 6’4”, also tried to walk on to the basketball team his freshman year, but was unsuccessful. A year later, he was granted a spot on the team.
“Did he earn [the spot] himself? Yes. But did who his father is have a part of it? Absolutely,” Thompson said, adding that he was “not sure” if Riyan would have made the team has he not been Reggie Williams’ son.
Though Williams isn’t allowed to speak with media per team rules concerning first-semester players, his close friend and roommate David Burton (COL ’15) says he doesn’t think Williams feels pressure to match his father’s success.
“Riyan is his own man and he’s an individual at heart,” Burton said. “He shares a lot of the things that his father [had]. He’s a great shooter, great defender, but there’s not much pressure to be great from his father. That’s something he puts on himself.”
According to Burton, Williams is enjoying playing with the team and proud to be a part of the Georgetown basketball program. For Floyd though, not playing basketball has given him time and space to focus his energy on something new: music.
“It actually worked out great because I rediscovered my love for music and I’ve sort of followed that passion through my time at Georgetown. It was a blessing in disguise,” he said.
As a DJ who performs all over the city, Floyd is gaining a reputation in his own right. He currently holds a residency at Malmaison, a French restaurant and club on K Street, and was entered in a contest to open for Porter Robinson, an EDM producer and DJ, at Echostage. Though Floyd has carved his own path at Georgetown, it wasn’t always easy for him to duck the considerable shadow of his famous father.
“When I was in high school I got bullied a lot. … I didn’t really take basketball seriously. I was always much better [at] and loved football. When I got to high school I made the switch to basketball,” Floyd said. “So I was still developing and getting better, and a lot of kids — I don’t know if they were jealous of my dad being who he was — but they just wanted me to be better than I was. And because I wasn’t, they made fun of me for it. But that also set fire in belly and I started getting really good.”
Floyd was only 4 years old when his father retired from the NBA, but he still fields questions about his dad’s playing days.
“People always think it’s really cool and ask me what teams he played for, what he did at Georgetown,” Floyd said. “People are just blown away.”
Corey Ewing, who was in second grade when her dad retired from the NBA, had no trouble making a decision about a possible basketball career.
“I actually hate playing basketball,” Ewing said, laughing.
In regard to her father’s success, Ewing says only a couple of people have actually asked her about him since she’s been at Georgetown.
According to Burton, Williams has had a different experience.
“When people see and they find out that his dad played in the NBA after Georgetown they’re really excited and ask a lot of questions,” Burton says. “Riyan’s just a humble guy and he just sits there and answers questions.”
Apart from the occasional questions about their fathers, both Floyd and Ewing insist there isn’t really anything different about being related to Hoya basketball legends — except, perhaps, a natural feeling of home on the Hilltop.
“I have a good relationship with Coach Thompson. It’s nice having someone who is well-respected in the community looking out for me,” Corey Ewing said. “He’ll just text me like, ‘Oh, how are your classes going? Do you need a tutor or something?’”
For Thompson, keeping an eye on Patrick Ewing’s daughter is only to be expected.
“Well, she’s family. I think its just natural to call and check on her,” he said. “She knows if she ever needs anything, there are a whole lot of people in [McDonough Arena] — on this campus, not just in this building — that are willing to help her out.”
Floyd thinks that one of the benefits of attending Georgetown is that he can be himself.
“There are so many kids here whose families have done amazing things so they are interested for a second, but then it goes back to you’re a person and people like you for you,” Floyd said. “That was something I didn’t experience in high school. I was always Sleepy Floyd’s son.”
Ewing played volleyball and ran track in high school, but she has yet to make her mark here at Georgetown — as a first-semester freshman, she hasn’t yet gotten involved in any extracurricular activities. Still, she’s comfortable on the Hilltop thanks to the groundwork laid by her father and older brother.
“I’ve basically grown up here, going to my brother’s games and [with] my dad coming here all the time,” she said. “Georgetown just feels like home.”