Caleb Swanigan

Caleb Sylvester Swanigan (born April 18, 1997) is an American professional basketball player. He played college basketball for the Purdue Boilermakers. He was ranked among the top prep players in the national class of 2015 by Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN. He completed his senior season in the 2014–15 academic year for Homestead High School, who went on to win the first state championship in the school’s history. Swanigan was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American.

American basketball player (born 1997)

Caleb Swanigan

Swanigan playing for Purdue in March 2017
Free agent
Position Power forward
Personal information
Born (1997-04-18) April 18, 1997 (age 24)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Listed height 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight 260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school Homestead (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
College Purdue (2015–2017)
NBA draft 2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26th overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Playing career 2017–present
Career history
20172019 Portland Trail Blazers
2017–2018 Canton Charge
2018–2019 Texas Legends
20192020 Sacramento Kings
2019 Stockton Kings
2020 Portland Trail Blazers
Career highlights and awards
Stats  at NBA.com
Stats  at Basketball-Reference.com

Swanigan originally committed to Michigan State University, but later decommitted and committed to Purdue University. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times, a record at Purdue. He was also named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and also received a National Freshman of the Week award. Swanigan finished the season with 10.2 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game.

During his sophomore year, Swanigan was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and first-team All-Big Ten, and was a unanimous first-team All-American. He was a finalist for the 2017 Karl Malone Award, given to the nation’s top power forward. On June 22, 2017, he was selected 26th overall in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.[1]

. . . Caleb Swanigan . . .

Swanigan grew up in an unstable home due to his father, Carl Swanigan Sr., who had a crack cocaine addiction. Swanigan’s mother, Tanya, had six children. Swanigan moved between Utah and Indianapolis during his youth, spending time in homeless shelters.[2]

Swanigan inherited two key features from his biological father—height and a tendency to obesity. The elder Swanigan, who died in 2014 from complications from diabetes, was 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) and weighed nearly 500 pounds (230 kg) at his death. By the time Swanigan was entering eighth grade, he was 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) and 360 pounds (160 kg).[2] Swanigan has described his bad eating habits as primarily eating desserts and being surrounded by unhealthy food due to his family’s financial situation. Swanigan’s large size was the reason his aunt nicknamed him “Biggie,” often saying “Biggie Biggie Biggie, can’t you see.”[2] His weight issues, according to ESPN writer Myron Medcalf, were also a symptom of his unstable home situation. His father had many brushes with the law, battled drug addiction for most of his adult life, and physically assaulted his wife. According to a story in Bleacher Report, he was accidentally dropped by his mother as an infant, leaving a bruise on his face; this incident led her to move with her children to Salt Lake City. For the next decade, the family bounced between Indianapolis and Utah; he recalled that he lived in five different homeless shelters and attended 13 different schools by the time he was 13.[2]

When his mother decided to move the family to Houston, his older brother Carl Jr., concerned that Caleb would keep gaining weight if he moved with his mother, called his former AAU basketball coach, Roosevelt Barnes, a former three-sport star at Purdue who played on the school’s 1980 Final Fourteam and now a successful sports agent. Barnes, living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, agreed to take Caleb in if he could adopt him and raise him as his own son. Barnes adopted Swanigan prior to his 8th grade year. Barnes addressed Swanigan’s eating habits and, after receiving clearance from a cardiologist, began putting him through workouts similar to those Barnes himself went through in college. By the time Swanigan finished high school, he had slimmed down to 260 pounds (120 kg).[2]

Swanigan in the 2015 McDonald’s All-America game

In the fall of 2011, Swanigan attended a basketball camp led by NBA former coach John Lucas after Barnes convinced Lucas to let him into the invite-only camp in Louisville.[3] When it came to selecting his high school, Swanigan’s guardian Barnes said, “When he chose his high school, his high school had never really done much in the tournament, and his goal was to win a state championship at a school where that had never been done before.”[4] Swanigan attended Homestead High School and wore the same number as Barnes, number 44.[3]

As a senior, he was named Indiana Mr. Basketball and led Homestead to a first-ever state title. He was ranked as a top-20 national prospect in his class.[5] He was named a McDonald’s All-American.[6] Swanigan averaged 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds as a senior.[7] Academically, Swanigan maintained a 3.1 GPA and graduated in three years instead of the usual four.[8]

. . . Caleb Swanigan . . .

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. . . Caleb Swanigan . . .

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