Caleb Swanigan vs. “They”


“They” said he was too fat. “They” said he was too slow. “They” said he wasn’t athletic enough. “They” saw what “They” wanted to see.

Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan has been dealing what “They” have been saying all his life, so it’s no surprise if the new “They” in his life is questioning his ability to thrive in the NBA. Caleb Swanigan just had one of the most dominant college basketball seasons in the last twenty plus years and “They” are questioning how good he will be at the next level.

Let’s take a look at some of the things he did in his short career at Purdue. One of the first things Biggie did at Purdue was change the culture of how people even look at Purdue. If we are just being honest, Purdue was looked at as one of those schools who had a solid program, but wasn’t anything to write home about before Biggie signed with them.

When Biggie signed with Purdue, he became Head Coach Matt Painter’s first ever Mr. Basketball recruit from the state of Indiana, as well as his first McDonald’s All-American basketball player. Before Biggie arrived on campus, Purdue had a last place finish in the Big Ten in the 2013-14 season (5-13) and they finished that season with a 15-17 overall record.  Then, in the 2014-15 season they had a 3rd place finish in the Big Ten (12-6) and they finished that season with a 21-13 overall record, for a combined 36-30 record.

In Biggie’s two years as a Boilermaker, he led them to back-to-back NCAA tournaments, which included a Sweet 16 appearance along with an outright regular season Big Ten Championship, in which he was named Big Ten Player of the Year. Purdue’s record was 53-17 in Biggie’s two years there. In addition to his Big Ten Player of the Year Award, he was a consensus first team All-American, Pete Newell Award winner, the Basketball Times Player of the Year, the Lute Olson Player of the Year and an Academic All-American.

Because of Biggie’s incredible life story, which almost every major media outlet in the country has shared with the world, Purdue has benefited greatly.  All of the positive publicity has caused people to view Purdue differently. In Biggie’s own words, “We made Purdue look sexy”. Can you say “Culture Changer”?

Biggie also brought an incredible work ethic to the Purdue campus. His typical day at Purdue consisted of two hours of shooting on his own in the morning, followed by an hour and a half in the weight room, and Purdue’s three-hour practice. After practice he usually did an hour of cardio, along with some late night shooting. He kept up this routine for 4-5 days every week for two years. As a matter of fact, he has been putting in 4-6 hours a day on his game ever since Roosevelt Barnes adopted him six years ago. What other college player do you know that puts this type of time into his craft, all while taking a full load of classes and earning Academic All-American status because of his 3.3 G.P.A.?

You can ask any Purdue player or coach and they all will tell you that Biggie’s work ethic was off the charts. Biggie did this throughout the season as well. Biggie was so dedicated with getting better that he would go through 45-minute workouts in the weight room after some home games as you can see in the video below. Can you say “Culture Changer”?

As Biggie gets ready for the 2017 NBA Draft, “They” are back at it again saying “They” don’t know if he is athletic enough, “They” don’t know if he can guard the pick and roll, “They” don’t know if his game will translate into the NBA. Based on Biggie’s historic numbers that he put up this year, he should be a no brainer top five pick in the NBA draft. But, because “They” say the NBA has changed, “They” say “They” don’t know how successful he will be.

Let’s compare Biggie to a former top five pick and a four-time NBA All-Star, Kevin Love, with similar attributes, and let’s see how Biggie lines up. I have attached a chart that will break down the two players.


If you ask me what type of player Caleb Swanigan is, I will tell you that he has the low post scoring ability of a Zach Randolph, the NBA 3-point shooting ability of a Kevin Love, the high basketball IQ of a LeBron James, the passing ability, leadership ability and the toughness of a Draymond Green.

When it’s all said and done, Caleb Swanigan will have over twenty NBA team workouts behind him before the 2017 NBA Draft takes place.  Unfortunately, there will be several teams that bypass him, even though the numbers say “All-Star.” “They” say we just don’t know if he is good enough.

It’s been said that numbers don’t lie, but “They” say numbers do lie. Biggie has spent his whole life proving “They” wrong. If I were you, I wouldn’t listen to what “They” are saying!