EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

January 13, 2008

Big Baby, humongous running back; Celtics rookie was a blue-chip, 325-pound high school football player

Growing up in the shadow of "Death Valley," the pull had to be severe. With 92,400 crazed fans at every game, Louisiana State football is a religion, but Glen "Big Baby" Davis resisted the urge to convert.



Drafted in the second round, he's enjoying a fine rookie campaign for the Celtics, highlighted by career high 20 points recently against the powerhouse Detroit Pistons. But many, to this day, believe football should have been his sport.



As a 6-8, 350-pound running back (yes, running back!) at University Laboratory High in Baton Rouge, his size, quickness and nimble feet made him one of the nation's premier recruits ... although probably as a tight end or a lineman. After his junior year, Hacks Magazine ranked him the No. 8 prospect in his class nationally, ahead of Calvin Johnson, the No. 2 pick in last year's draft, and fellow Louisianan Glenn Dorsey, who may go No. 1 this spring.



Then he made an announcement that shocked the football-crazed state. He decided not to play his senior year in high school.



"Crazy, stupid, dumb," he said were the taunts he heard after his decision. "You aren't going to make it. You aren't going to make it."



But he has made it, albeit without making the big bucks of a first-rounder.



His reason for giving up football was simple.



"I just love basketball," he said flatly after practice on Tuesday.



Celtics teammate Scot Pollard shuddered at the thought of "Big Baby" playing high school football.



"A high school kid would be terrified," he said, shaking his head. "They might have brown pants! (They'd think) 'I'm getting out of the way guys!' "



Short for an NBA power forward (listed as 6-9, he's probably actually closer to 6-7) and not much of a leaper, Davis' draft stock dipped. That fanned the flames again that he might revert to his football roots. After all, Antonio Gates went from college power forward to NFL All-Pro and another successful tight end, Seattle's Marcus Pollard, was a basketball player at Bradley.



Big Baby said it was basketball or bust.



"No. Never, never, never," he said of possibly switching to football after this three all-star years at LSU. "If I wasn't doing this, I'd get a job. And it wouldn't be football."



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