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USC basketball: VCU freshman D.J. Haley, a Palmdale native, has a family allegiance torn between Trojans and Bruins

March 16, 2011 |  9:53 am

Haley_300 Virginia Commonwealth freshman center D.J. Haley grew up a UCLA fan. The Palmdale native had to. His mom worked at the school for 25 years. "And I'm a mama's boy," he said Tuesday. 

But his brother, Donald Sumbry, went to USC, the school Haley is playing Wednesday night in a first-round NCAA tournament game here. 

"It's a split family," said Haley, who went to Palmdale High. "Half the family for USC, half for UCLA."

Of course, everyone in his family will be rooting for VCU to beat the Trojans. If the Rams pull off the win, however, Haley said that brother Donald, who will be attending the game, "will probably be a little bit salty."

It's not as though Haley has played that much this season. He's averaging just one point in 7.8 minutes. But in his last seven games, he has averaged 15.6 minutes and 3.1 points.

"I've just been progressing," Haley said. 

Haley is expected to start and he should play an interesting role in the game. At 7-feet, 250 pounds, he'll be used to help combat USC's 6-foot-10 tandem of junior Nikola Vucevic and senior Alex Stepheson.

Haley said he figured that his duty in Wednesday's game will mostly be rebounding, but his size alone could give USC problems. 


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-- Baxter Holmes in Dayton, Ohio

Photo: D.J. Haley. Credit: VCU center D.J. Haley attempts to drive past George Mason forward Johnny Williams. Credit: Geoff Burke / US Presswire