"When you're old men and sit back and talk about your team is when you really have a lot of fun. And I think you guys will have a lot of things to talk about," Coach John Thompson told his Georgetown Hoyas yesterday.

So GU's almost-dream basketball year closed with a luncheon at 1789, the GU-owned eatery, during which Thompson was introduced as coach of the year in the East and the university president, the Rev. Timothy S. Healy, S.J., told the team:

"I want to say thank you for a hell of a season."

He went on to "thank you for the way you spoke, the way you carried yourself . . . To the seniors who are leaving, you'll be missed.

"But you'll survive and so will we."

Thompson's honor was by a regionwide panel of media experts sponsored by the folks who gave the GU team the Widmer Cup, unanimously, as best in the East. Big Jawn won 17 to 35 first-place votes, with Bob Dukiet of St. Peter's second and Jim Valvano of Iona third.

How many times have you seen the players along the lane during a free throw "jump the gun" -- or at least you could have sworn they did -- by invading the lane in quest of the rebound before the basketball strikes the rim or backboard? And no violation called? The NCAA Basketball Rules Committee acted yesterday to put you at ease: From now on, would-be rebounders will be able to make their move -- legally -- as soon as the shooter releases the ball.

Without that judgement call for the officials to worry about anymore, and no other significant rule changes, the committee reckoned they can begin next season to put "special emphasis" on enforcing the rules governing bench decorum, charging and blocking, screening and traveling . . .

Never mind the recent ads, Monday night's Capital Centre fight card begins at 7 p.m., not 7:30 . . .

Baseball Break: Or, rather, dislocation -- Seattle Mariners lose Juan Beniquez, center fielder received from the Yanks in the deal for center fielder Ruppert Jones, for about six weeks, right shoulder injury . . . Boston Red Sox will have to go at least a good chunk of the season without the 1977 firearm of the year, Bill Campbell. Shoulder miseries, recurrent a third year . . .

NFL trade: Mike Hogan, the former Eagle Fullback recently cleared in a Philly-area drug bust, and defensive back Tony Dungy from the 49ers to the Giants, with receiver Jimmy Robinson and cornerback Ray Rhodes leaving New York for San Francisco . . .

Indiana U. denies a Michigan student daily report that IU Coach Bobby Knight applied for and was denied the newly opened Wolverine basketball coaching post; says he only made recommendations about a successor to Johnny Orr. . . . But Tony McAnderews, the Iowa assistant who survived a light plane crash in February a return to duty at Coach Lute Olson' side in the NCAAs, avers that he was offered the Iowa State job that went to Orr this week. McAndrews says he gave up "a great deal -- a fine contract" because "I just didn't think it was the right thing to do -- to be the Iowa State coach and expect our Iowa kids to concentrate. It would have been selfish and inconsiderate" . . .

Jim Valvano, once a Rutgers player under Bill Foster (the Duke-South Carolina pretournament switcher) was introduced in Raleigh yesterday as N.C. State's coach on a five-year contract in the $40,000 range not counting any TV or basketball-camp contracts he may negotiate. Sorry, Iona, -- "I waited 13 years to get an interview at an institution like North Carolina State," said Valvano. "I said I wasn't going to blow it."