Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

‘Zo Has High Hopes for Roy and the Hoyas

I never meant to start a fight in an NBA locker room. My simple question wasn’t intended to spark a heated argument between two basketball giants during which expletives and not-so-good-natured verbal jabs sailed across the room like paper airplanes in a fourth grade classroom. But I forgot that it was the eve of March, and the madness was about to begin.

Alonzo Mourning (COL ’92) and Miami Heat teammate and Florida alum Udonis Haslem were just minutes removed from a 92-83 win over the Washington Wizards on Feb. 28, but all the goodwill forged by a solid team effort had dissipated the second Haslem overheard my query of ‘Zo.

“You think Georgetown can take Florida this year?”

Those seven simple words set off a chain reaction of Georgetown-educated eloquence and Gator-bait grammar.

“How much we beat y’all by?” Haslem asked in a saucy tone.

“By like 3,” Alonzo Mourning (COL ’92) responded with a sigh of utter contempt. “By like three, man.”

“Yeah, we done kick y’all’s ass,” Haslem said with an arrogant chuckle.

“Y’all better not be in our bracket this year,” Mourning warned, rising from the stool in front of his locker. “Didn’t they lose last night?” Florida had just lost to Tennessee by ten points the night before.

“Yeah, they struggling right now – we just complacent ’cause we already won the SEC right now,” Haslem stammered as he muscled up to Mourning. “Now we just coastin’ to the NCAA tournament.”

“Just coastin’ huh?”

“Whatever, we just bust y’all’s ass again. We got the talent to do that.”

The passions of the NCAAs tug at the heartstrings of us all, even overgrown adults who long ago swapped their school-supplied letter jackets and Nikes for David Stern-appeasing Armani suits and alligator loafers.

Tired of listening to Haslem’s rant, Mourning turned his attention to his fellow Hilltopper.

“You write for THE HOYA?” Mourning asked, ignoring Haslem’s continued barbs. “That’s cool. I like you man, you alright.”

When Haslem realized his teammate was in the bonds of a fellow Hoya, he retreated awkwardly to his locker revealing a tattoo of a map of Florida. The drawing, spanning the entire length and width of his back, denoted major cities, geographical features and notable landmarks, and could probably be a more useful resource for Sunshine State voters than Google Earth.

‘Zo asked all about what was going on at his old stomping grounds, and listened with genuine excitement as I told him about the 100th anniversary gala.

“Paul Tagliabue was there too, right?” Mourning asked, sounding more like an awestruck schoolboy than a seven-time All Star. “I wish I could see some tape of Tagliabue. I heard he was a pretty decent player.”

Having bonded over Tags, I asked Mourning to shed some light on one of the Hilltop’s greatest unsolved mysteries – the legend of fellow Hoya behemoth Dikembe Mutombo’s (FLL ’91) asking a packed house at a Georgetown bar, “Who wants to sex Mutombo?”

Mourning spat out a mouthful of toothpaste and let forth a laugh that shook Verizon Center to its core.

“I wasn’t there for that, but it did not surprise me,” Mourning said when he had finally composed himself enough to answer. “Anything is liable to come out of Dikembe’s mouth.”

After our discussion of Georgetown basketball’s storied past, number 33 wanted to talk about the future.

“I think Big John – I mean Little John, is doing a spectacular job,” Mourning said of the head coach. “I know that when the NCAAs start up, he’s going to have them ready. As long as they come out with their defensive intensity they have consistently put out throughout the year, I think they are going to be alright.”

Few know the keys to tourney success better than Mourning, who helped the Hoyas to the Elite Eight as a freshman in 1989. When asked to name his favorite member of the current Georgetown squad, the proud member of Rejection Row swatted the answer right back at me.

“Big Roy, man,” Mourning said with a wide smile. “Big Roy Hibbert. He’s representing, carrying the big-man torch.”

Sunday night, as he basked in the glow of a Big East Tournament championship and a No. 2 seeding in the field of 65, I relayed ourning’s praise that night in the Heat locker room to Hibbert. Even though he had singlehandedly dominated the Pittsburgh Panthers the night before and put on a workshop in the paint for a national television audience, the news brought an enthralled expression to the 7-foot-2 giant’s face.

“Really?” Hibbert asked with disbelief. “That makes me feel real proud. I have an Alonzo Mourning picture above my bed. I used to love watching him play when I was younger. For him to say that, I feel, I – I feel very honored.”

Watching one of the best centers in the college game stammer and stutter over a compliment from a man almost two decades his senior makes you realize the power of the “Big Man” tradition here on the Hilltop. So does seeing Alonzo Mourning talk with wonder about Paul Tagliabue, a player who starred before Mourning was even born.

Just like ‘Zo and Big Roy, I am thankful for Georgetown basketball, and I hope this season ends with Mr. Hibbert clutching the championship trophy in his mammoth arms as the last second ticks off the clock in Atlanta on April 2.

Either way, Alonzo and I have already designed our matching back tattoos of the District.

Harlan Goode is a junior in the College and the features editor of THE HOYA. He can be reached at goodethehoya.com.

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