It's no April Fool's joke, John Thompson said. He expects his Georgetown team and Maryland to be playing basketball against each other again in the near future.
Except for an NCAA tournament game, the schools have not met since 1979. Thompson indicated that he does not expect to resume the series against George Washington, a series that ended in the 1981-82 season, even though the teams are tentatively scheduled to play Dec. 17 at Smith Center.
Sitting in the coffee shop at the hotel where the National Association of Basketball Coaches is holding its annual convention, Thompson broke a longtime silence about why Georgetown has not been playing either of its two traditional rivals in the Washington area.
"(Not playing) Maryland was competitive jockeying. The other (GW) was resentment for cheap (verbal) shots being thrown at us," he said. "(Resuming play with) Maryland may come about in the near future. Everybody in this thing tries to gain a competitive advantage . . "
Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell, who is not attending the convention, said in a telephone interview that he has not talked directly with Thompson, but that he asked one of the Terrapins' assistant athletic directors to call Georgetown recently and "see if they'd want to play one game at Capital Centre and one game here (at Cole Field House)."
Driesell said he has two open dates remaining for next season. "We'd love to play them if we can work out a date . . ."
Thompson said he decided not to schedule GW because of what Colonials Coach Gerry Gimelstob and some of his players reportedly said following their last game, in December 1981, about the Hoyas playing dirty basketball and about center Patrick Ewing throwing cheap shots. The comments were published in Sports Illustrated magazine, Thompson said. An SI researcher said yesterday she could not find such a reference.
Reached at his office in Washington, Gimelstob said: "I don't remember making any comments like that and neither did my players. I have tremendous respect for Patrick Ewing . . . You can remind John that coaches are often misquoted."