It was billed as American University's National Invitation Tournament II. And Kermit Washington once again was the star attraction.

Washington's 19 points and 15 rebounds were not enough to lead the "old guys" to victory as the Eagles' NIT teams of 1972-73 and 1981-82 got together for a friendly basketball game as part of alumni weekend. But that was beside the point.

"We did okay in the first half, but in the second half, I was tired," said Washington, the Eagles' first Division I all-America and now an assistant coach at Stanford after a nine-year NBA career.

Washington, at AU out of Coolidge High School, was one of seven players in NCAA annals to average 20 (or more) points and 20 rebounds during a varsity career. After that, the Los Angeles Lakers made him the fifth pick overall in the 1973 draft.

He went on to play for Boston, San Diego and Portland before retiring after the 1981-82 season.

His attempted comeback before the 1983-84 season was aborted by a bad back. He resurfaced last year at Stanford, where former AU coach Tom Davis is head coach.

Washington is settled, the itinerant life of the NBA happily behind him. He said he "never" misses it. "Nine years in the NBA was enough," he said.

American has suffered two straight losing seasons, and there was talk on campus last year that Washington would be a natural candidate to coach his former team. Washington said yesterday, however, he has no desire to do that and likes his life on the West Coast, where he has lived since 1973.

"I don't want to get involved here," he said. "I want to remember it the way it was. And I don't want any of those memories to disappear."

Can American ever be competitive while recruiting locally against Georgetown and Maryland?

"If they get a gym (arena groundbreaking is due later this spring), it would be no problem. But you've got to do the best you can with the facilities. The campus is better than Georgetown's and GW's and it's a more personable place than Maryland. If you think about it, though, they got lucky with us.

"Stanford is a beautiful campus. I've got a house in Palo Alto, and I don't feel it would be fair to my wife (whom he met at AU) and kids if we picked up and moved again.

"I do a little recruiting (for Stanford), but mostly I'm in charge of conditioning." At 260 pounds, 30 muscular pounds over his playing weight, it appears he practices what he preaches in the weight room.

Still, he managed to get around the court well yesterday, especially inside, where he dunked three times and blocked several shots.

Washington is resigned to the fact that Stanford rarely stacks up with other Pacific-10 teams in basketball. "We're never really going to be able to compete with a lot of Pac-10 teams because we're not going to compromise academics. We never will. But that's okay by me."

In addition to his coaching duties, Washington does public relations work for Far West Bank in Oregon. He said he wouldn't give up that job to be a head basketball coach, not at Stanford or American. In fact, he has returned to AU's campus only three times since he graduated.