Position: PF
Height/Weight: 6'5" / 257 lbs
School/Club: Purdue
Status: Sophomore
Birthday: April 18, 1996

About Caleb Swanigan

After a disappointing showing at the 2016 NBA Draft Combine, Swanigan knew he had to get in better physical condition. So he went to work over the summer, and his efforts were quickly apparent -- against McNeese State in the Boilermakers’ 2016-17 season opener, he scored 23 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and passed for six assists. He followed that with three more 20-20 games during the season, against Western Illinois (21-21) and Norfolk State (32-20) in successive games and Minnesota (28-22) in Big Ten play. Only three players in the last 20 years have racked up consecutive 20-20 games, including Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin and Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys. In addition to his exploits on the court, Swanigan was impressive in the classroom, earning second-team Academic All-America honors with a GPA of 3.30 in educational studies.


  • Excellent rebounder
  • Enormous wingspan (7-3.5)
  • Good passer
  • Good 3-point shooter
  • Effective low-post finisher
  • Solid free-throw shooter


  • Not an explosive athlete
  • Defensive potential is uncertain
  • Turnover prone

NBA projection: Swanigan has been projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick, but an invitation to the Chicago Draft Combine will give him an opportunity to boost his stock.

2016-17 Season
In his second season, Swanigan produced eye-popping numbers, earned consensus All-America honors and won the Pet Newell Award, given annually to the nation’s top post player. Swanigan helped lead Purdue to a 27-8 record, Purdue’s 23rd Big Ten title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16. Only two players in the last 25 years averaged at least 18.5 points, 12.5 points and 3.0 assists in a season. Tim Duncan was one. Swanigan was the other. He’s also the only player in 31 years to score at least 640 points, grab 430 boards and hand out 100 assists. Swanigan was the Big 10 Player of the Year, first-team all-conference and won six league player-of-the-week awards.

Key statistics: 18.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.3 tpg, 0.8 bpg, 32.6 mpg, .527 FG, .447 3PT, .781 FT

Career Highlights: A consensus All-American, the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year as a Purdue junior. Ranked second nationally in rebounding. Joined Tim Duncan of Wake Forest (1996-97) as the only players in the last 25 years to average at least 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a season. Captured Second-Team Academic All-American accolades. Helped the U.S. win gold at both the 2015 U19 FIBA World Championships (6.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and 2014 U17 FIBA Worlds (8.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

Cool statistic: Swanigan destroyed Purdue’s single-season rebounding record in 2016-17. The old mark of 352 belonged to Joe Barry Carroll. Swanigan snagged 436 boards, and he racked up a Big Ten record 28 double-doubles.

Reminds me of: Zach Randolph

What Insiders Say
Purdue coach Matt Painter

“He has a knack to get the basketball, and when you put a big‐time effort behind it, you are going to get results.”

What Outsiders Say
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo

“Well we wanted to try to force him out a little bit, and he does a good job of pushing and getting the inside [Swanigan posted 25 points and 17 boards in a win at Michigan State]. Again, I think some of it is he’s really good and some of it there’s displacement there and I just don’t understand the rule. To me, if we hit their guy and he goes out, that’s displacement, and if he hits our guy and he goes in, then that’s displacement and if he stays the same, it’s not.”


Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. You can email him here, follow him on Twitter and listen to the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Hour.

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