GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY basketball Coach John Thompson has done many wonderful things for the sport, for his student-players and this town. But there is one streak that is not a winning one: his refusal to involve his team in an area-wide basketball tournament that other local coaches agree could be an excellent holiday fund-raiser for charity every year. As sportswriter John Feinstein reported Sunday, Coach Thompson gives a speech about not owing the other local teams anything and how "winning the national championship did something for the community." So there.

What Mr. Thompson chooses to do or not do with the team's schedule is his business, of course, and there is no requirement that he share a court with the other teams that the people of Greater Washington support. If Georgetown is content to warm up each season by beating a collection of pushover teams from around the country, that's the Hoyas' choice. And when it comes to setting terms for playing some of the area teams -- American University agrees to play all games against Georgetown at the Capital Centre, a Hoya home court -- Mr. Thompson can call the shots.

Asked about the Hoyas' chances of participating in a local charity tournament, Mr. Thompson has said he'll do it "when Avis and Hertz join forces, when Nike and Converse stop competing and IBM and Xerox merge." But the area coaches supporting a holiday tournament do not propose to "stop competing." The idea is to start competing -- and maybe even draw better crowds than Georgetown does when it plays its own list of early-season victims. So much for a sporting proposition.