Glen Davis carried the LSU basketball team to the Final Four, and for that alone, we're very, very grateful. It's easy to forget that it's damn hard to make the Final Four, as even successful programs have never reached that level (Temple and Ole Miss, most notably). The ‘00s were a low point for the LSU basketball program, as even the bright spots were pretty fleeting. Big Baby was one of the few players to put in multiple superlative seasons for the Tigers, and he even brought us to the mountaintop.
Davis was a starter almost immediately, starting every game his freshman year except the opener. He scored 13.5 PPG and averaged 8.8 RPG and 1.4 BPG. With Brandon Bass, it gave LSU one of the most powerful frontcourts in the SEC, if not the nation. He was named SEC Freshman of the Year and LSU seemed on the brink of dominance.
Then Bass bolted for the pros early and it seemed we were back at square one. But instead of sliding back to the pack, Davis made the developmental leap, and took the rest of the program with him. He became the first SEC player since Shaq to lead the conference in scoring and rebounding (18.6 PPG and 9.7 RPG, nearly a double-double average) in the same year. He was a slam dunk pick for SEC Player of the Year, regardless of what happened in the postseason. But what a postseason. He guided the team on an almost magical run through the NCAA tournament until the dream died in the Final Four. He was named, in addition to the SEC Player of the Year, a first team All-American.
Davis decided to stick around for one more year, which may have slightly damaged his legacy. It's a shame that averaging 17.7 PPG and 10.4 RPG was seen as a disappointment, but the expectation bar had been raised. Despite averaging a double-double, including 15 on the year and 44 on the career, he couldn't take LSU back to the Final Four. He finished the year on his second straight All-SEC team. But he never stopped being one of the more jovial and quotable players in LSU, and one of the finest ambassadors the school has had. He lived up to the "Baby Shaq" comparisons with both his play and his demeanor.
Glen Davis finished his career with 1587 points (tenth in LSU history), 916 rebounds (sixth), and 110 blocks (third). He also has the career lead in feather boas. He may be trying to ditch the nickname now, but Glen Davis will always be Big Baby.