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30 Greatest Tigers of the Decade: #24 Stromile Swift

#24 Stro
#24 Stro

In 1999, LSU finished dead last in the SEC.  In 2000, LSU won the SEC title.  In 2001, LSU won only two SEC games.  The reason?  Stromile Swift was really, really good and then left really, really early.  There are only two players on this list who only played one season in this decade (start guessing... the other one is #22), but both of them just had too dominant of a one season to leave off the list.

Stromile led the SEC in blocks with 95 (5th best season in LSU history) and scored 16.2 points per game and averaged 8.2 rebounds per game.  Yeah, that's close to averaging a double-double.  He only played two seasons, and is second all-time in LSU history for blocks.  That Shaq guy is still #1. 

Oh, and he was a spectacular dunker.  Unfortunately, all the good youtubes were of his pro dunks, so we'll have to just remember his college dunks in our heads. 

He carried the team to not only its first NCAA bid since 1993, he took the Tigers to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1987.  It had been a long time and LSU was coming off six straight losing seasons, not to mention losing a fight with NCAA investigators.  How good was Stromile?  He brought John Brady a winning SEC season, so you know he was really good (cheap shot, I know).  In Brady's first seven seasons, LSU posted a winning record in the SEC precisely once: 1999-2000, Stromile's sophomore year. 

Instead of coming back for his junior year, Swift declared for the NBA draft and was selected 2nd overall, so that was a pretty good decision.  LSU went back to its losing ways under Brady as soon as Swift left.  Sure, it was a false spring, but it was a really fun false spring.