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Full Court Press: Members vs. Professors

Members of Congress and Georgetown University law professors will trade in their wingtips for Air Jordans this week for a friendly game of basketball in the name of charity.

The 16th annual HomeCourt basketball game between the Hill’s Angels and the Hoyas Lawyas is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the McDonough Arena on Georgetown University’s main campus.

Proceeds from HomeCourt 2003 — the finale to a week-long fundraising drive — will benefit the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. WLCH provides legal services to the homeless in D.C. through volunteer lawyers, paralegals and law students.

Organizers said they expect the game to go on as planned, despite the war.

“The reality is that many things are continuing and the homeless continue to be homeless. We need to have a domestic agenda,” said Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), whose son Mervyn Jones will join her on the Hill team for the fifth year.

Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.) returns as coach for the Hill’s Angels. He’s served in that capacity since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago.

“Congressman Evans looks forward to the game, but more importantly it benefits an important organization,” said Steve Vetzner, Evans’ press secretary.

In addition to Jones, members of the team include Reps. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Mel Watt (D-N.C.).

“As I get older, it gets harder to get up and down the court, but we have a good time,” said Baca. “Besides, against a bunch of lawyers, even a politicians’ team will be the favorite. We’ll get a lot of cheers.”

In 15 meetings since the series began, the score is 8-7 in favor of Congress said Everett Bellamy, the law school’s assistant dean and Lawyas coach. But the last three games have gone to Georgetown.

Vetzner said Evans hopes to reverse this trend, but the Congressional team has no official practices scheduled. The Lawyas have two.

“You often have a Maryland-like finish,” Vetzner said of the Lawyas last win, referring to the Terrapins’ buzzer-beater three-pointer from last year’s Final Four tournament.

The week of events, organized by Georgetown law students, includes a faculty bartending night on the law school campus, just blocks from the Capitol and Union Station. A silent auction is also held; students and faculty can bid on several items, including two student positions on the Georgetown team, weekend getaways, lunches and sports memorabilia.

The student committee set a fundraising goal of $175,000 this year, $27,000 more than the amount raised last year, said Christine Scheef, the event’s publicity chair. The game is expected to draw several hundred students.

“It’s just a fun way to get them out to know what WLCH does,” said Scheef. “Seeing Congress and their professors play is really a draw for students.”

The committee sends out mass e-mails, posts flyers on both the law school campus and the main campus, and uses events leading up to the game to promote it.

Tickets, which can be purchased at the door, are $7 and include an event T-shirt.

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