Gary Williams, American University's rookie coach, says his biggest recruiting problem thus far has been with the identity of the school in the Washington area. At one time, under Tom Young, now the coach at Rutgers, AU was laden with area talent, such players as Kermit Washington, Wilbur Thomas, Calvin Brown and Johnny Lloyd, Among others.

But Jim Lynam, Williams' predecessor, did not include the Washington area as one of his prime recruiting areas, concentrating instead on his hometown region of Philadelphia and on New Jersey to some degree.

As a result, Williams said, he finds that more than one local player has asked him, "Where is American U. located?" Williams said he considers local recruting a necessity to be successful.

If you don't know where AU is located, it's at Ward Circle. If you don't know where that is, it's at Nebraska and Massachusetts avenuse, NW.

The Eastern Eight, formally known as the Eastern Athletic Association, still is suffering growing pains in its third year.The league's athletic directors are procrastinating over the choice of a commissioner and it is hurting, especially on court this season.

In fact, someone may actually get hurt. Fights are becoming commonplace at league games. All the league teams, including George Washington, play extremely physical basketbally and officials are letting the home team get away with what would, on the street, be felonious assault.

A strong commissioner could control the oficiating better. Currently, all officials are assigned from the ECAC office. That's better than last season, when three different groups -- ECAC, Tri-State and Southern Conference -- assigned officials for league games.

Contrary to local radio reports, former Spingarn All-Metropolitan Bryant Johnson did not have his scholarship taken away to Ohio State and is not transfering to Georgetown, according to Buckeye basketball Coach Eldon Miller.

Johnson did get in academic difficulties his first quarter and is ineligibel to play. But he is practicing with the team and improving every day -- both on the court and in the class-room -- according to Miller.

The travails of winter weather and recruiting: Tom Schneider, GW assistant coach, recently skidded into a snowbank in upstate New York. The tow truck called to service Schneider's car suffered the same fate, necessitating a call for a second tow truck.

Pete Gillen, the former Virginia Military assistant how at Villanova, was in Dayton to scout a high-school player. After the game, he tried to backtract to his hotel in six-belowzero weather.

He went through a light on an icy street and collided with a house trailer, spun around and hit it again. He blacked out momentarily, but no one was injured. To get back to Philadelphia in time for a game, he had to go Dayton-toDetroit to Cleveland. But Detroit was fogged in, and he arrived in Cleveland after his flight left.

With no money and out-of-date credit cards, he had to sleep in the Cleveland airport. He slept through his next flight.

Thural Bailey, Bladensburg's 6-foot-11 basketball star, reportedly has narrowed his choice of colleges to four.In no particular order, they are Georgetown, Maryland, N.C. State and Clemson.

Tournament notes: Georgetown, which won the 1977 ECAC Holiday Festival tourney, will return to that tournament in Madison Square Garden in December. The other teams will be Lafayette, Boston Cllege and St. John's... The Virginia Tipoff Tournament, which the host Cavaliers have won and made good money with in its three-year existence, has been canceled. The dates will be used for next season's two additional Atlantic Coast Conference games against newcomer Georgia Tech...George Washington will get a $10,000 guarantee to play in Missouri's Show Me Classic Dec. 7-8. The other teams will be Auburn and Arkansas State.