- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2007

ATLANTA — One of Georgetown forward DaJuan Summers’ biggest fans plies his own trade in College Park.

Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was roommates with Summers when both attended McDonogh School in suburban Baltimore. The two still talk frequently via telephone and instant messenger, including a conversation shortly after the Hoyas’ regional final victory against North Carolina on Sunday.

Summers scored a career-high 20 points in the victory, which clinched a meeting with Ohio State (34-3) tonight at the Georgia Dome for Georgetown (30-6).

“I just root for him all the time,” Heyward-Bey said this week. “He was always like my little brother when we were in high school. When he came he was my roommate and we used to always talk about the dream of making the pros. When I had my good season, he was calling me up telling me ‘Good job.’ With him right now, I’m just telling him to keep it up.”

Summers was a critical factor in both of the Hoyas’ regional weekend victories. He scored 15 points against Vanderbilt before his 7-for-10 effort from the floor against North Carolina. The 6-foot-8, 241-pound forward is averaging 9.3 points and has started all but three games for the Hoyas.

Heyward-Bey, who had his own breakout season last fall with 694 yards and five touchdowns for the Terrapins, remembers when Summers wasn’t quite the same player he is now.

“He came in about 6-4, a little chubby and then he just sprouted up,” Heyward-Bey said. “I know in his freshman year, he couldn’t dunk, and he was mad that I could. His goal was to always dunk and then, he was just the man.”

It’s a friendship Summers cherishes as well — and one that could lead to a few more congratulatory phone calls this weekend.

“It’s definitely cool,” Summers said. “It’s funny. It’s kind of like foreshadowing because we used to talk about it. We see it happening now. We just keep telling each other to keep it going.”

Spann’s homecoming

The Final Four has brought Georgetown reserve Octavius Spann back home.

Spann, from College Park, Ga., in suburban Atlanta is one of two Hoyas players with area roots. Sixth man Patrick Ewing Jr. played part of his high school career in nearby Marietta.

Spann, though, had Georgia on his mind since just after the Hoyas earned a No. 2 seed in the East Region on Selection Sunday.

“Since the tournament started I’ve been getting phone calls about tickets, and family and friends have wanted to meet up,” Spann said. “They’ve been excited.”

The sophomore forward has played only two minutes in the tournament — in Georgetown’s opener against Belmont — and is averaging 0.6 points and 0.7 rebounds in 16 games. But he has been eager for his team to arrive at the Final Four, especially after comeback victories over Boston College, Vanderbilt and North Carolina.

“A lot of people say the Final Four is the battle of who can fight back,” Spann said. “We’ve been down a lot of games in the tournament, but not one time have I ever been down knowing we wouldn’t be able to come back. The North Carolina game, once I saw we were down and I knew we still had a run left in us, I knew our chances of coming to Atlanta was great.”

And that meant plenty of ticket requests, although Spann admitted he was able to take care of only his immediate family.

Another College Park

Georgetown’s roster also includes someone from near a more familiar College Park — forward Jeff Green.

Green remembers the last time the Final Four was at the Georgia Dome, in 2002. It sticks out in part because he had a rooting interest in the proceedings.

“My first memory of the Final Four was really when I was in high school and Maryland went,” Green said. “It was here in Atlanta and I was a Maryland fan. Lonny Baxter, Juan Dixon, all those guys, it was cool to see them succeed because I grew up like five minutes from College Park.”

Rumor-mania

No matter how much he tries to avoid it, Florida coach Billy Donovan has faced questions about the vacancy at Kentucky since Tubby Smith bolted for Minnesota last week.

It naturally came up again yesterday, and Donovan insisted his attention is entirely on the Gators’ meeting with UCLA.

“I don’t even have my phone. I don’t talk to anybody,” Donovan said. “The minute I get on the road, I give my phone to my secretary. I’ve talked to nobody. All I’ve done, to be honest with you, is get a lot of bloodshot eyes from watching a lot of tape. That’s all I do.”

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