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4 LSU
Luke Winn
November 20, 2006
After a disappointing end to a stellar season, a not-as--Big Baby is hungrier on and off the court
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November 20, 2006

4 Lsu

After a disappointing end to a stellar season, a not-as--Big Baby is hungrier on and off the court

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POS. PLAYER HT. CLASS KEY STATS
SF Tasmin MITCHELL -- RETURNING STARTER 6'7" Soph. 11.4 ppg 5.6 rpg
PF Magnum ROLLE 6'10" Soph. 2.2 ppg 2.5 rpg
C Glen DAVIS -- RETURNING STARTER 6'9" Jr. 18.6 ppg 9.7 rpg
SG Dameon MASON* 6'5" Jr. 11.9 ppg 5.6 rpg
PG Garrett TEMPLE -- RETURNING STARTER 6'5" Soph. 5.1 ppg 2.8 apg
F Darnell LAZARE -- KEY RESERVE-- 6'8" Sr. 6.7 ppg 48.9 FG%

Workdays begin earlier for the slimmed-down Big Baby. At 8:30 a.m. on an October Tuesday, Glen Davis is the lone player toiling under the dome of LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, sweating in a purple long-sleeved T-shirt as he puts up jumpers. He heads to the gym for these 50-minute sessions--extra work on top of the Tigers' afternoon practices--at least twice a week. Many other mornings he greets the day with a bowl of organic oatmeal at Christina's Restaurant in downtown Baton Rouge. "Last year at 8:30," Davis says, "I'd usually be sleeping. Crashed out."

The supersized Baby of last season thrived--he was SEC player of the year, led the Tigers to the Final Four and charmed the nation with his ebullience. But the joyride ended in Indianapolis. UCLA ran Davis ragged, he fouled out with 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting in a 59--45 defeat, and his NBA draft stock wasn't lofty enough to warrant a jump. The 6'9" Davis took a week off from basketball, then stepped on a scale and faced the truth: "I was freakin' heavy." Like 347 pounds heavy, after starting the season at 310. "The way I played, I felt like that loss was my fault," he says. "I decided to change my body, and I got to work."

The day after his last exam, in May, Davis bolted for Houston and entered what he calls Terminator Baby mode--so dubbed not only because he'd be back in Baton Rouge for his junior season but also because he worked out with Schwarzeneggerian zeal. Davis spent each morning training with former NBA player and coach John Lucas at Bellaire High School before playing pickup games at Fonde Community Center with the likes of T.J. Ford and Rashard Lewis. He would top off his day by either lifting weights or running on Memorial Park's trails. When LSU coach John Brady met up with his star in July at the Nike camp in Indianapolis, he saw a sub-300-pounder "who I could tell was proud of the way he looked."

Big Baby faces big challenges: helping the Tigers defend their SEC title without Tyrus Thomas, leading the team to another run at a national title and proving to NBA scouts that with his more svelte frame he is now first-round material. Brady says it's up to the coaches to help Davis "balance those expectations and still be the carefree Big Baby who was dancing with a [feather] boa around his neck after beating Texas to go to the Final Four." And it's up to Davis to keep his weight down: Right now he's around 290.

In a campus cafeteria later that Tuesday, his lunch is more fried than organic, but he exercises newfound restraint by limiting his portions. "I'm still hungry, man," he says, "but that means I'm not full. And that's a good thing."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

*2004--05 STATS FOR MARQUETTE

BIG QUESTIONS

Will Tasmin Mitchell become the scorer needed to complement Big Baby?... Can the Tigers find a clutch outside shooter to replace Darrel Mitchell?... How effective will Tack Minor be after missing most of last season with a knee injury?

SCHEDULE

Nov. 17 Nicholls State

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