CHESAPEAKE, VA., NOV. 18 -- This is no joke. Down the road from Indian River High School, near the home of Alonzo Mourning, there is a road called Georgetown Boulevard.

So Mourning, considered by many to be the top high school basketball prospect in the nation this season, already had some experience being at Georgetown when he signed his early letter of intent today to play for the Hoyas next season.

"My phone number was out," Mourning said, "and if I had waited any longer, my phone would have rung off the hook. I wanted to get it out of the way early and enjoy my senior year."

With his parents, Alonzo Sr. and Julia, looking on, the 6-foot-10 Mourning ended weeks of speculation by signing to play for the Hoyas and Coach John Thompson. Thompson was not present at yesterday's signing, but everyone at the news conference mentioned him every third breath or so as one of the major factors in Mourning's decision.

"I just thought John Thompson was the coach for me," said Mourning, an all-America who averaged 21.8 points, 11 rebounds and 9.6 blocked shots last season in leading Indian River to a 29-1 record and the Group AAA state championship.

"Alonzo's the type of person who doesn't care about the number of points," said his coach, Bill Lassiter. "If his team wins, he wins. He does have the team concept down."

"John Thompson has that graduation record," Mourning said. "He graduates so many of his ballplayers. It's unbelievable."

"We both favored Georgetown, both for their reputation and Coach Thompson's reputation," Mourning Sr. said with his wife's agreement.

While Mourning's grades will be more than good enough to qualify under Proposition 48 standards, Lassiter said, he is still awaiting results of his Scholastic Aptitude Test scores. A student must score a minimum of 700 on the SAT to be able to compete in athletics during his or her freshman year in college.

Lassiter would not say whether Mourning had taken the SAT before, but said, "It's just a matter of having the time to concentrate on it. I don't forsee any problem in passing the SATs."

Apparently, Mourning's final two choices had been pared to Georgetown and Maryland. Syracuse and Georgia Tech also made it to the final week, he said. Mourning visited Georgetown's campus last week.

"I was favoring Maryland for awhile. I was favoring Georgia Tech, too," he said. The decision came soon after his visit to Georgetown.

"It was last week, when I was thinking about all the aspects of the school, where I would fit in," he said.

"He said initially that he preferred staying close to home, and Syracuse isn't exactly near Norfolk," Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Tuesday.

Mourning did not discuss schools with either his parents or Lassiter.

"He never came to me and said he was interested in any school," Lassiter said. "I found out about 3:30 Sunday afternoon. He said, 'Coach, I've made my decision, and it is Georgetown.' "

"I was constantly going to the coach," Mourning said. "He gave me all the support I needed. He never told me which school to go to, but he gave me his opinion on the questions I asked."

"Alonzo would check out the schools and make the decision on his own," his father said. "It was a busy season last year, and he needed to concentrate on his schoolwork."

Mourning's parents said Lassiter played a big role in keeping recruiting and coaching visits bearable. College coaches could only call Mourning on specific days at specific times, and only recently were they able to reach Mourning at home.

"The way that the coaches have handled it, it has been very easy to deal with," Julia Mourning said. "{Lassiter} has really been with Alonzo. He's like a father image, as John Thompson will be."

Although Thompson was not at the news conference, in a statement released by the Georgetown sports information office, he said, "I think that his exceptional athletic talent and the excellent coaching he has already received from Coach Lassiter make him a significant addition to our team. It is important to remember, however, that we are talking about a 17-year-old young man who still has a year of high school to compete. It's great that the issue is resolved, but I hope that now Alonzo can enjoy the experiences of his senior year in high school."

Mourning insisted yesterday that he was uninterested in turning pro early, or that a possible spot on the Olympic basketball team (Thompson is the Olympic coach) played a role in his choice.

"I stayed in school for 12 years," he said. "The money's going to be there. They're not going to stop making money. Right now, you've got to concentrate on your degree."