Associated Press Homestead graduate and Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan takes part in drills during a pre-draft workout for the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis on Monday.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 1:00 am
Swanigan works out, weighs future
Has yet to decide whether he will enter upcoming draft
JEFF WASHBURN | For The Journal Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS – Caleb Swanigan is in no hurry to make what will be the most important decision – to this point – in his young life.
After working out Monday for the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Big Ten Player of the Year, first-team All-American and Homestead graduate said he likely will wait until next Tuesday or Wednesday – May 24 is the deadline – before deciding whether to stay in the 2017 NBA draft or return to Purdue for what would be his junior year.
Swanigan visited with representatives of 25 NBA franchises during last week's NBA combine in Chicago, will work out Thursday for the Brooklyn Nets and then will work out May 22 for the Orlando Magic.
Swanigan averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds for Purdue last season, which included the program's first unshared Big Ten championship since the 1995-96 season.
The 6-foot-8 power forward set a Big Ten single-season record for doubles-doubles with 28, the 13th most in NCAA history.
Now, he hopes to parlay that success into a lengthy NBA career, going through the pre-draft process for a second consecutive season. Last year, the advice he received led to a return to Purdue for his sophomore season.
“Being through this before gives me a good idea what to expect,” Swanigan said Monday afternoon. “I definitely am more prepared. I have grown just through maturation. I have grown up a lot since last year. I knew I needed to work on my body, and I am shooting the ball with more precision, as well as being a better teammate.
“But right now, I haven't really made any concrete things I'm going to make my decision on. It's early, and really, teams just started to get to know me at last week's combine. These next three weeks, I'll have a better idea.”
Most NBA general managers, scouts and coaches see Swanigan being drafted in the 25-to-35 range.
“He is a borderline first-round guy, and I am not sure how he will have a better year than he had this past year,” one NBA general manager told ESPN.com.
Another NBA executive told ESPN.com, “I don't see how he improves his stock coming back to school.”
That part of the decision makes sense to Swanigan.
“I'm getting that, too,” Swanigan said. “The guys I'm talking to, none of them are saying go back to school, but there's things I want to do, goals I want to meet. If our goals are the same when I talk to NBA people, then it will be my time.
“You just have to make the best choice for you. It may not be something you want to do, but you have to make the best choice for you and your family.”
Iowa State guard Monte Morris, whose team Swanigan and Purdue defeated in the NCAA Tournament, predicts a stellar NBA career for the Boilermaker big man. Morris and Villanova guard Josh Hart were among those who worked out for the Pacers on Monday with Swanigan.
“You just see his determination and what he has done with his body,” Morris said. “Caleb has a great chance to be a great pro. He is shooting the ball at an all-time high right now. He is such a hard worker.”
Hart, whose 2016 NCAA champion Wildcats beat Purdue in November, believes Swanigan is the perfect fit in today's NBA.
“He is a big that the pro game is really going to,” Hart said. “He is so versatile. He is big and strong and not only can bang down inside but can play the pick-and-pop and knock down that outside shot. You can see that the game is going in that direction.”