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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

February 24, 1991|Chris Goodrich

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: John Thompson and the Georgetown Hoyas by Leonard Shapiro (Henry Holt: $19.95; 310 pp.). Washington Post sports editor Leonard Shapiro, like every reporter, is fond of controversy, and Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson provides plenty of material. He makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year promoting athletics while saying what really matters at college is education; he keeps a deflated basketball in his office to remind students that sports careers are short-lived, yet will do just about anything to win a national championship. Shapiro plays up these and other apparent discrepancies, but Thompson comes through much more coherently than his biographer seems willing to admit; Thompson is very much aware of the contradictory nature of his job, which is both to exploit and to promote his young, often poor, usually black (like Thompson himself) charges.

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