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Patrick Ewing endorses Tom Thibodeau to be new Knicks coach

Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing talks to his

Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Seton Hall in the Big East men's tournament, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in New York. Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

There has been a prevailing thought that Tom Thibodeau is the favorite for the Knicks coaching vacancy and he picked up another endorsement Wednesday from an all-time Knicks’ great.

Patrick Ewing, appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s Starting Lineup Wednesday morning, spoke of Thibodeau’s candidacy enthusiastically. Ewing first knew Tom Thibodeau as an assistant coach during his final years as a player and then the two served together as assistant coaches under Jeff Van Gundy in Houston. And Ewing is convinced that Thibodeau is up to the task of remaking the Knicks.

“I think Tom’s a great coach,” Ewing said. “I had the opportunity to have him be on the staff when I played and also work with him. He’s been around a lot of years. He knows the game in and out. He’s going to do everything he needs to do in terms of having his team prepared to play every night. I think he’d be a great candidate for that job.”

The Knicks have assembled 11 confirmed candidates for the job who are currently being interviewed via video calls. Thibodeau is the front-runner, ahead of five other coaches with NBA head coaching experience — Kenny Atkinson, Mike Miller, Mike Woodson and Jason Kidd — as well as five NBA assistant coaches.

Ewing is not on the list of candidates, serving as Georgetown University head coach after a long career as an NBA assistant. But his most pressing issue for himself right now is health as he continues to recover from a bout of COVID-19.

“I wasn’t in pain,” Ewing told hosts Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok. “I was sick. I had a fever, just didn’t feel like myself, weak. I didn’t have it as bad as some other people. Everyone’s symptoms are different. Shortness of breath, I wasn’t able to breathe very well. Thank God for the nurses and doctors. They did an outstanding job of getting me back on my feet.

“You think you’re invincible. especially when you’re young you think you’re invincible. I was doing everything that was said, wearing my mask, keeping social distance, keep away from others and I still caught it. So you don’t know when it’s going to strike. You try to do the best you can to keep yourself safe and I’m telling everybody that they need to keep themselves safe, but it’s hard to do.”

He’s going to do everything he needs to do in terms of having his team prepared to play every night. I think he’d be a great candidate for that job.”

— Patrick Ewing

New York Sports