The waiting finally is over for college basketball coaches: today is the national signing date.

Coaches now can begin signing the players they have courted and coveted all year. At least five Washington-area schools plan to announce today which recruits will officially accept athletic scholarships.

Georgetown, which had one of the best recruiting classes in the nation last year, got some bad news yesterday when 6-foot-9 prep all-America Wayman Tisdale announced he would sign today at the University of Oklahoma.

Tisdale, from Tulsa, generally is acknowledged as the best power forward among this year's high school seniors. He visited Georgetown two weeks ago, and reportedly had narrowed his choices to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Georgetown.

The day after the Hoyas lost the national championship game to North Carolina, Georgetown Coach John Thompson said he was most concerned about getting a power forward to team with center Patrick Ewing. Tisdale, one of the most highly recruited players in the nation, would solve any team's problem at power forward.

However, Georgetown is expected to announce the signing of 6-1 playmaking guard Michael Jackson from South Lakes High in Fairfax County and David Wingate, a 6-5 guard/forward from Baltimore's Dunbar High.

Thompson reportedly also is interested in Harold Pressley, a 6-6 all-America from Uncasville, Conn.

George Washington's Gerry Gimelstob is one of the few coaches in the nation who has completed his recruiting. Gimelstob plans to sign Troy Webster, a 6-4 do-it-all player from New Jersey; Darryl Webster, a 6-7 forward from Coolidge High; Chester Wood, a 6-4 forward from Carroll High; 6-5 guard/forward Steve Frick from South Carolina and Craig Helms, a 6-6, 220-pound forward from Yorktown, Va.

Gimelstob is happy about signing two relatively highly recruited local prep stars. "Getting Darryl and Chester will help boost local interest, attendance, everything," he said yesterday.

Maryland is expected to sign four players who Coach Lefty Dreisell hopes will contribute immediately: 6-8 forward Len Bias from Northwestern High; 6-2 Jeff Baxter, a point guard from Carroll; 6-10 Bryan Palmer from Pennsylvania and Ed Farmer, a 6-8 forward attending Glen Mills (Pa.) Prep School. However, Maryland appears to have lost 6-8 Reggie Meadows, a very impressive forward who had planned to transfer from Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College. Meadows has decided to attend Florida State.

"We're still looking for a center and a shooting guard," Driesell said.

Ed Tapscott, the new coach at American University, said he plans to sign Darnell Swinton, a 5-11 playmaking guard from Mackin High. "He's what you would call 'a jet,' " said Tapscott, who also is looking for a player at least 6-9 who can play immediately.

At George Mason, Joe Harrington plans to sign 6-3 guard Rickie Wilson of Newport News, Va., and 6-8 forward/center Rob Nieberlein, an all-metropolitan player from Mount St. Joseph's in Baltimore.

Howard Coach A.B. Williamson said he expects to sign seven or eight players from a pool of 14, but will not name them until May 1. Williamson said none are from this area.

Navy coach Paul Evans said he is recruiting forwards, but will announce no signings now because of the complicated appointment system at the academy.

Wil Jones, coach of Division II national champion District of Columbia, said he is not saying who he is recruiting, and won't do so until all his players are signed. And Virginia Coach Terry Holland, who usually is secretive about his recruiting, could not be reached for comment.