NBA: Ex-NBA star Ewing headed back to Georgetown University as coach

Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing is going back to his basketball roots, taking the head coaching job at Georgetown University where he starred before his standout NBA career.

Ewing, the top pick in the 1985 NBA draft, played 15 seasons with the New York Knicks, leading them in some memorable battles with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

Now in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, he has been in the mix for an NBA head coaching job in recent years, but never landed with a team.

The 54-year-old Jamaican-born Ewing replaces John Thompson III, the son of Ewing's former coach at Gerogetown, John Thompson Jr.

"Welcome home @GeorgetownHoops Coach Patrick Ewing!" the university posted on its Twitter feed on Monday after reports of the appointment had surfaced in US media.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford called Ewing's departure "a big loss" for the NBA team, but said everyone in Charlotte was "excited for Patrick to have the opportunity to go back to Georgetown".

Ewing led Georgetown's Hoyas to three straight national championship games, winning one title. His dominant presence in the paint made the Hoyas an intimidating force.

Georgetown sacked Thompson III on March 23 after a second straight losing season. Ewing's son, Patrick Ewing Jr., was a member of Thompson's coaching staff.