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High Schools

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Caleb Swanigan is part of the USA Basketball team that will play in the FIBA U17 World Championship.

Homestead star picked for national U17 team

There’s good news for Homestead’s Caleb Swanigan and possibly more good news.

The senior boys basketball standout made the USA Basketball U17 team, it was announced Tuesday. Swanigan, who holds several big-time Division I scholarship offers, will be part of the 12-player team that will travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship on Aug. 8-16.

The two-time defending U17 champion United States begins preliminary play against Greece on Aug. 8.

“That’s a phenomenal accomplishment,” Homestead coach Chris Johnson said Tuesday. “He’s a great kid and has worked extremely hard to put himself in that position.

“He has been blessed with his size and his footwork and hands. He has been given a gift and has taken advantage of it. He has worked hard to put himself in a position to have a phenomenal senior year of high school and from there, the sky’s the limit.”

The 6-foot-8 center, who recently reclassified to the graduating class of 2015, is participating in the 2014 U17 World Championship Team training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

“It’s a good opportunity for me to just see how I have been doing during the spring and the summer,” Swanigan said last week. “I didn’t get invited to the U18, so it was a relief to get invited to the next one. You definitely want to be invited. It means a lot just because that’s the best of the best there. Just being given the opportunity to make the team is going to be a great experience.”

After averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds a game as a sophomore, the 6-foot-8, 265-pound Swanigan decided to finish high school in three years instead of the usual four and pick up the extra academic work during the summer and fall, in addition to playing AAU basketball during the spring and summer. He led the Spartans to the Class 4A semistate and was named to the IBCA Underclassmen All-State first team and The Associated Press All-State third team.

Swanigan might also be getting a new point guard in Junior All-Star Jordan Geist. According to a Twitter post from Homestead senior center/forward Dana Batt and media reports, Geist will transfer from Penn to Homestead.

Johnson said he has seen the same reports about Geist.

“He’s a heck of a player, but he goes to Penn,” Johnson said. “If he enrolls (at Homestead), we will be getting a good point guard.”