GUILBEAU: Davis owns hardwood, pressroom

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – It's Glen Davis' world, and even LSU coach John Brady knows it.

As he did on every stop of the Big Baby Dance Revue in the NCAA Tournament last season, Davis dominated the press room at the SEC Basketball Media Days last week.

 

There were other players there, including members of the defending national champion Florida Gators and their loquacious coach Billy Donovan. Florida goofed by not bringing star center Joakim Noah, but it would not have mattered. Davis would have eaten him for lunch, too.

 

Davis' routine never gets old because it's not fake. Whereas many athletes have a well-rehearsed media personality and a genuine one of their own for their friends and family, Davis speaks to reporters the same way – honestly, with a giant sense of humor and with that rare gift of how to tell a story.

 

The 6-foot-9 Davis may be freakishly talented with quick feet and an inability to jump, but he is a natural speaker.

 

Asked how his game would be different this season considering he has lost nearly 60 pounds, down from 347 at the end of the Final Four to 289 now, Davis said, "I'm going to show a little bit of everything, man, a lot of stuff."

 

Asked if he would play some guard, Davis, who nailed a critical 3-pointer from the top of the key in the win over Texas that put the Tigers in the Final Four last season, Davis yelled to the next press table, "Coach, am I going to play guard this year? Coach?"

Brady, who had a crowd at his table as well, finally heard Davis.

 

"Coach, they want to know if I'm going to play on the perimeter?" Davis asked.

 

"Absolutely," Brady said without hesitation.

 

"OK," Davis said, giggling to himself.

 

Brady doesn't often give it to players, but he's no dummy. Davis has hand, as George Costanza might say.

 

If Davis wants to play guard, let him play guard. He was quick at 347. He'll be quicker at 289, and he has apparently retained most of his rebounding hump. Asked if his smaller backside will hurt his rebounding, Davis laughed.

 

"Not really, man," he said. "Two-ninety, that's still a lot of weight. You ever picked up 289 pounds? It's still hard to move."

 

Out-of-state media gobbled it all up, especially those overweight reporters – which was about the whole contingent. They craved Davis' dietary secrets. Asked by one hefty writer what specific foods he avoids, Davis looked at the questioner and said, "The stuff you eat."

 

Davis quickly apologized and laughed.

 

"I see how you are," the reporter joked back. "Big-timing me. Seriously, what did you cut out?"

 

Davis said, "Pizza, McDonald's."

 

Baby starts every day with organic oatmeal, which he hates.

 

"To eat that every day, it's boring, man," he said. "But somehow I had to use my imagination. I had to really get in character for that. ‘OK, I'm going to eat this. I'm a starving castaway on Gilligan's Island.'"

 

Davis, whose waist shrunk from a size 48 to a 42, tries to avoid steak at all costs.

 

"Red meat, that's what kills you, man," he said. "It kills you because it stays in your body for a long time. Leave that stuff out. I eat chicken. That's all I eat. Chicken, chicken, chicken."

 

While Davis got smaller last spring and summer, so did his hometown of Baton Rouge. Everywhere he went, he was recognized. So when he was in the Cortana Mall last spring and saw a group of about 50 or 60 elementary school kids on a field trip, Davis went incognito.

 

"I put my hood over my head and I'm walking by and I'm thinking, ‘Oh, please, I don't want to sign nothing today. Just let me go.' I end up getting stopped," he said. "They're like, ‘Oh my God, it's Big Baby! We love YOU!'"

 

Davis stopped and signed about 20 or so autographs.

 

"No, you don't ever big-league nobody like that, man," he said. "Never do that in public. You sign as much as you can and you try to leave a couple of good words, but I had to say, ‘Hang on guys, I've got to go.'"

 

It wasn't just kids.

 

"It's like everything, every aspect. Old people, girls, guys," Davis said. "Some GUY wrote me a letter. I'm sittin' at lunch at LSU, right. I'm getting up, and some guy writes me like a little kiddy note. ‘I love you, Glen Davis.' He draws like a basketball goal and a stick man. I'm like, ‘DUDE, what are you doing?' Kinda weird. He was a student!"

 

Another time, Davis was walking into the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to shoot and a young girl saw him, then stopped dead in her tracks and just stared at the 6-foot-9 returning SEC player of the year.

 

"She just stuck there," he said. "She couldn't even say nothing. I'm like, ‘Are you OK?' And her friend says, ‘She is so in love with you.' I was like, ‘Are you serious?' God! Like, I'm Brad Pitt or something. I'm just a regular guy. Golly, though. It's all really ridiculous, man," Davis said. "It's crazy man, really crazy."

 

When Davis finally left the SEC Media Days, reporters followed him like elementary school kids on a field trip.

 

"Let me out of here," Davis said. But as usual, he was smiling.

 

---

 

Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at www.LSUbeat.com  or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and occasionally USA Today. You can contact him at gguilbeau@gannett.com.


Tiger Blitz Top Stories