Reminiscing with Darren “The Ewing Stopper” Morningstar
Let’s go back to November of 1993. The New York Knicks came to Dallas to face the Mavericks at Reunion Arena. They would go on to a comfortable 103-90 win to improve their record to 7-0, while the Mavs would fall to 1-5. Don’t look up the Mavericks final season record if you’re curious, I’ll save you some time, it was 13-69.
The Knicks were an Eastern conference powerhouse and advanced all the way to the 1994 NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the Houston Rockets. But something occurred that night at Reunion that did not happen again for the entire season, and it is worth remembering. Patrick Ewing only scored 7 points that game, a season low. The Mavs starting center who drew Ewing as his defensive assignment that night was a rookie by the name of Darren Morningstar.
Morningstar only played 22 games for the Mavs that season and was waived just after Christmas in December of 1993. He remembers that night against Ewing though, and will sometimes remind people of his defensive prowess against an NBA legend.
“I joke to people now that I held Patrick Ewing to a season low, in ’93/’94…I remember playing like 35 minutes in that game, and I guarded him the whole game. He was probably taking the night off because we weren’t good, but I tell people that I held Ewing to a season low that year.”
Looking at the box score of that game, Morningstar only played 16 minutes. But considering it was 25 years ago, I think we can let it slide. He is correct on Ewing’s night that, who was held to a season low of 7 points that night at Reunion.
Morningstar had some efficient games in his short time with the Mavericks, including a double double and a near double double in limited minutes. On a team that was not very successful, it seems a little odd he wasn’t given a chance to at least play out the season. Timing, roster depth, and contract values ultimately played a big a role in him not being able to find a firm footing in the NBA. After being cut by the Mavs, he played one game in February of 1994 with the Utah Jazz, and that was it for his NBA career. He went on to play several more years overseas with stops in Spain, Puerto Rico, and Italy.
Today, Darren is a financial advisor based out of Pittsburgh. Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoy the episode.
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