the Baller’s Almanac: August 5, 2012

Happy 50th birthday to Patrick Ewing. Ewing was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and didn't grow up playing basketball. Instead it was cricket and soccer. In 1971 (Ewing was 9) his mother moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and began bringing her children over one by one. Patrick was the 5th to make the trip, and moved to the States in 1975.

Out of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (where he was coached by future St John's head coach Mike Jarvis), Ewing was one of the most highly recruited basketball players of his era. He ended up signing with Georgetown. The Boston area schools were dismayed that he left town, which led to a number of cheap shots, including BU head coach Rick Pitino stating he couldn't have gotten in to BU anyway. He played at Georgetown for four seasons (and became a US Citizen while he was there). For his career he averaged 15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds. The Hoyas reached the NCAA Championship game in three of his four seasons, and won it all his junior season (1984). As a freshman his team lost to Michael Jordan and UNC (with Ewing being called for goaltending on each of the Tar Heels first five shots), and as a senior they were upset by Villanova. He was a 3-time 1st Team AP All American, and as a senior he was the college player of the year and would go on to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

Jack Cobb was born on this day in 1904. As a basketball player at the University of North Carolina, he led the Tar Heels to their first ever undefeated season, and to three straight Southern Conference titles. He is one of eight Tar Heels to have his jersey retired (though he played with no number).

When Cobb was 25, he lost part of his leg in a motorcycle accident. He died in 1966 in Greenville.

Other birthdays include Francis Johnson 1910 (Wichita State), Greg Stokes 1953 (Iowa), Otis Thorpe 1962 (Providence) and Laron Profit 1977 (Maryland).