Swift back in Louisiana – this time as an opponent

NEW ORLEANS, La. — To LSU Basketball fans, it doesn't seem like that long ago. <br><br> It was the 1999-2000 season and sophomore Stromile Swift was leading the LSU Tigers to their first Southeastern Conference Championship since the 1990-91 season and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. <br><br> Fast forward to 2003.

Now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, on the heels of two sub-par seasons for the former number two overall pick, Swift is starting to make significant process as a professional.


Swift's Grizzlies paid a visit to the New Orleans Arena to take on the Hornets last Friday night and lost in a shoot-out 125-123. The former LSU all-American finished the game with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and had three steals.


"Stro had one of his better games of the season tonight," Memphis head coach Hubie Brown said. "He did an excellent job not only with the points, he did a nice job stealing the ball and getting out putting pressure on people."


Swift had anxiously awaited the chance to come back and play well in front of the Louisiana fans.


"I was kind of excited to come back and play," Swift said. "I wanted to come back and try to do well and try to get some (playing) time. We played a good game; we just couldn't get the win though."


Brown said it has been Swift's consistent effort every night after suffering a hand injury that has impressed him the most.


"Once his hand healed after the All-Star break, he's played really well in these four games (after the break)," Brown said. "We've played four good teams, all playoff teams. We're glad to see the consistency in him (Swift)."


During the latter part of the 2000-01 season when speculation arose that the Grizzlies were to move to New Orleans, Swift said he was eagerly anticipating the possibility of returning to Louisiana.


"I was hoping it would be New Orleans," he said. "Part of me was hoping Memphis because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of getting tickets every game, but I think it would have been nice to play here."


Swift also welcomed the possibility of perhaps becoming a Hornet in the future.


"No doubt, I think I would love to come and play for New Orleans," Swift said.


The Shreveport-Fair Park product says he still tries to keep in touch with his former LSU teammates and watches the Tigers anytime he can.


"I try to follow LSU," he said. "I've talked to Torris (Bright) and Ronald (Dupree) every now and then. I've been getting kind of mixed readings on them. One week they play well then the next they lose close games. But they look a lot better than they did last year."


If given a second opportunity regarding a jump to the NBA, Swift did say he would make the same decision coming out after his sophomore year.


He credits the Tiger coaching staff for helping his game.


"Different players have different opinions about coach Brady, but he was a good coach to me," Swift said. "Coach (Butch) Pierre, coach (Kermit) Davis, coach (Donnie) Tyndall; those guys did a good job with the people we had in there."


Swift said that the absence of Davis, now the head coach and Middle Tennessee, could be a factor in the 2002-03 version of the LSU Tigers disappointing season.

"Coach Davis was a big part in the development of the players, including myself," he said. "He put a lot of work in with the players and helped build their game and they're (LSU) missing that."

Tiger Blitz Top Stories