The Georgetown basketball team has plenty of former players who are good at dishing out assists – Allen Iverson has been dropping dimes in the NBA for over a decade, and while Jonathan Wallace (COL ’08) was known for his rainbow-arced threes, he handed out over 350 assists at Georgetown.

Now, a former student is assisting the program, and he’s doing a lot more than dishing out dimes. New Jersey lawyer Tom Napolitano (CAS ’69) and his wife Barbara donated $1 million to endow a men’s basketball scholarship.

“We’ve been very impressed with the enthusiasm of [Athletic Director] Bernard Muir and the success that [Head Coach] John Thompson III has experienced speaks for itself,” Napolitano said in a press release. Attempts to reach the couple Thursday were unsuccessful. “We’re excited to be a part of what we believe can be the return of the basketball program to the highest level for the long term.”

As the men’s basketball team has once again risen to national prominence over the last few years, donations to the Hoya Hoop Club have steadily increased over the last three years. In the 2007 fiscal year, donors kicked in $1.69 million, almost double the donations of the year before.

“Tom and Barbara’s commitment to our athletics program reflects their family’s relationship to our men’s basketball program and Georgetown University,” Muir said. “This $1 million gift is an example of tying together the passion of the donor with the priorities of the university in a personal and lasting way. We are so fortunate to have investors like the Napolitanos, and the young people who represent Georgetown on the court will be the beneficiaries for generations to come.”

The Napolitanos, longtime fans of the Georgetown basketball team, have been deeply involved with all aspects of the university. In addition to helping develop the art, music and theater department, the couple is in their second term on the College Dean’s Advisory Board.

“We have always wanted to find a way to do something to strengthen the university’s endowment,” Napolitano said. “I recognized the importance of the endowment from my days as a student in the late 1960s. Endowing a basketball scholarship allows us to express our enthusiasm for Georgetown basketball, while addressing the long-term needs of the university.”

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