The Swift Input

August 3, 2010
by Justin

As we continue to try and provide you with all the resources necessary for you to reach your potential, we were lucky enough to go one on one with professional basketball player and a shot blocking machine Stromile Swift. A member of the LSU ALL-Century team and former AP SEC Player of the Year in 2000, Swift was drafted in 2000 by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the second overall pick. Since then he has played in over 9 years of professional basketball with his most recent stint in the Chinese Basketball Association playing for the Shandong Lions. During his time at LSU Swift left his mark in a big way, as he played a crucial role in leading the Tigers from last place in the SEC west in 1998-99 to SEC Champions in 1999-2000. In that season, the Shreveport sophomore led LSU in scoring (16.2 ppg), rebounding (8.2 rpg), field goal percentage (.608) and blocks (95). His field goal percentage of 60.8 percent ties him at seventh all-time for a single season at LSU and his 95 blocks rank him fifth all-time. That year, Swift led the SEC in blocks and was third in scoring.  Swift concluded his stellar 1999-2000 season with Consensus First Team All-SEC honors, as well as the Co-SEC Player of the Year award. He was also named to the 2000 Consensus All-American 2nd team and the AP All-American 3rd team as well. In only two seasons, Swift remains the second-best shot blocker in LSU history with 130 blocks. He is also eighth all-time in field goal percentage with .560 percent.

Having said that, our motive behind our one on one was to focus on not what makes him different from you, the student athlete, but rather what makes him no different than you. What we found was an athlete driven by the love of the game and a student athlete with a desire to stay close to home. Many people over look the importance of playing there college career close to home, and often find themselves transferring in order to do so. This can often leaves student athletes in transfer limbo as student athletes can loose years of eligibility. Read on and hopefully you can come away with a little more comfort about making the right decision for you.

When did you first start playing basketball?

I first started playing basketball around 12 or 13 in the neighborhood with friends I didn’t play organized until 8th grade.

Growing up who was your favorite professional team? And who was your favorite player?

Growing up my favorite team was the Rockets and my favorite player was Hakeem Olajuwon.

From what you can remember, what were some of the challenges you faced during the recruiting process?

Some of the challenges I faced during recruiting were trying to decide on which school to attend all the schools pitched their schools and programs well, it was a tough decision. That was pretty much the only thing didn’t like was trying to narrow it down.

When did you decide that you wanted to attend LSU and why?

I decided to attend LSU late in the recruiting process one of the factors was it was close to home I wanted my family to be able to come and see me play and one of my friends and high school teammates also decided to attend.

You played two years at LSU before declaring for the draft. When draft day came you were drafted 2nd Overall, I am sure most analysts would say it was the right decision, looking back are you happy you left early or would you have stayed in school?

Looking back I’m happy with my decision I felt it was the right decision at the time for myself and my family anybody who plays the game and has a love for it, it’s a dream to be able to play in the NBA. I wanted to stay in school also I enjoyed my time there.

What are your thoughts about the NBA minimum age rule?

I understand what the league is trying to do, but I think each case varies and it just comes down to a person making the best decision for them.

Between John Wall playing one year at Kentucky, Brandon Jennings playing one year in Europe and Latavious Williams playing one year in the D-League who do you think gained the most from their decision?

I don’t know. We have yet to see John Wall play in a NBA game yet though he has great potential to be a great player. Brandon Jennings had a great year last year and played at a high level.

What do you recommend aspiring student-athletes do, go to college, play in the D-League or play over seas for one year?

I would say go to college, obviously education is very important and going to college is a great experience I think every student athlete should experience.

What does your training consist of today and what role has a balance diet played in your career? (basic training routine and daily diet)

My training consists of weight training, conditioning, and doing skill drills shooting, working on post moves etc.

How does your training differ from your days at LSU to the days in the NBA? Is there anything that you learned over the years to be noticeably helpful when training that you may not have known when first turning pro?

Yeah you pick up a few things along the way you’re competing on a higher level now and it’s a different game so the training is on a higher level.

What has been your biggest challenge that you have faced in your basketball career thus far?

I played in China last season adjusting to their style of play and the cuisine and the culture there was probably the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? And how has it helped your career?

I’m blessed to be able to play the game so I don’t take it for granted and when you’re out there competing, you always want to give it your all because you want to win. That’s where I get my inspiration from.

What advice do you have for those players aspiring to play professional basketball?

I would tell those players to keep God first and foremost and get an education you can’t play without one. Keep a positive attitude it won’t be easy trying to get there never give up keep striving and give God the glory.

Do you have a twitter, facebook or myspace page for fans to follow you on?

I’m in the process of starting a website that’s now under construction I’ll keep you posted.

Our hope is from these interviews, you as a student athlete are able to use the information provided and maximize your efforts in reaching your true athletic potential and ultimately getting scouted by college coaches. Hope it helps!

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