Patrick Ewing Jr. made his NBA D-League debut last night for the Reno Bighorns, scoring 15 points and dishing out five assists in a 114-108 loss to the Utah Flash. Ewing, who was in training camp prior to this season with the New York Knicks, was acquired by their affiliate team the Bighorns, but is eligible for a GATORADE Call-Up from any NBA team.

“Patrick Ewing Jr. signed an NBA D-League contract and was made available to all of our teams, and the Reno Bighorns made a successful claim through the available player pool and were awarded him through that claim,” said NBA D-League VP of Basketball Operations Chris Alpert.

Playing in his first game since the Knicks’ preseason finale on October 24, Ewing struggled in the first half of last night’s game as the Bighorns fell behind by 30 points. He shot 1-8 and was held to two points in the first half but rebounded to score 13 in the second half to help the Bighorns mount a comeback that fell six points short.

“Coach drew a play for me on the first possession and I scored, but I felt that the rest of the half was kind of shaky,” said Ewing as he spoke to the media on a conference call this afternoon. “After halftime I collected myself and got more used to playing since it had been almost two months since I had been in a game situation. In comparison to the two halves I made a big step up.”

The Bighorns and head coach Jay Humphries employ an up-tempo offensive system similar to the one employed with Mike D’Antoni with the Knicks, so Ewing felt that he was able to contribute right away to the team.

“I was accustomed to that type of style from training camp and the preseason, so I was able to contribute last night right away,” said Ewing. “I was used to that system and the type of plays that we ran. Like a lot of players, I enjoy playing in this style.”

Now moving forward with the 1-6 Bighorns, Ewing will try to both develop his game to attract a call-up from the NBA and help the expansion team add some more wins and climb in the standings. After his first game he was impressed with the skill level of the NBA D-League and felt that playing there can improve his skills.

“The D-League is definitely a pro league. A lot of the players have NBA experience at some point and it’s a lot faster paced than college, said Ewing. “I’m here to work on everything because in order to become a better player all areas have to be better. I feel like I am good at a lot of things but in order to be a good professional you have to be great at a lot of things.”

Next up for Ewing and the Bighorns is a weekend trip to the Dakotas to face the Skyforce on Saturday followed by the Wizards on Sunday. You can follow Ewing’s progress and watch his games live on NBA Futurecast.

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