Caleb Swanigan is a professional basketball player who joined the Portland Trail Blazers following the 2017 NBA Draft. From a childhood of lack and homelessness to becoming a standout athlete as a teenager, Swanigan’s journey to the NBA is similar to a fairytale. He had an outstanding high school career finishing as one of the top-rated players of the class of 2015. In a similar fashion, he had an explosive college career at Purdue University, also finishing as the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year, among other accolades.
Caleb Swanigan’s Bio, Age
Caleb Swanigan was born on April 18, 1997, to Tanya and Carl Swanigan Sr. in Indianapolis, Indiana. His upbringing was however marred by several challenges as his father battled drug addiction for the greater part of his adult life, had several run-ins with the law and also abused his mother physically. Consequently, the young Swanigan was forced to put up in homeless shelters on several occasions alongside his mother and siblings. As a teenager, his older brother, Carl Jr. introduced him to former basketball coach and sports agent Roosevelt Barnes who eventually adopted him.
This served as a major turning point in Swanigan’s life as he was transformed from an overweight teenager to a standout student-athlete in the state of Indiana. He played for the basketball team of Homestead Senior High in Fort Wayne, Indiana leading the school to their first-ever state championship title in his senior year. He set the school record for most points (704) and rebounds (424) in a single season as well as the highest number of career points (1,649) and rebounds (1,048).
His impressive performance earned him the Indiana Mr. Basketball award and he was named the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year. He also featured in the 2015 McDonald’s All-American, the Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Hoop Summit. For his college career, Caleb Swanigan verbally committed to Michigan State University in April 2016, however, he reneged on his commitment a month later. He eventually opted for Purdue University as revealed on May 19, 2015, via a social media post.
Swanigan had an epic freshman season with the Purdue Boilermakers basketball team finishing as one of the top 10 freshmen in the nation. He started every game setting the program’s records for most games started by a freshman (34), most rebounds (282), double-doubles (8) and rebounds per game (8.3). He was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and at the end of the season, he declared for the 2016 NBA Draft. However, he eventually opted out of the draft and decided to return for his sophomore season.
The talented player continued in his history-making heroics upon his return for his sophomore season. He led the team to a first-place finish in the Big Ten Conference, however, they exited at the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament after losing to eventual champions the University of Michigan. He also became the first major-college player in 25 years to compile 600 points, 400 rebounds, and 100 assists in one season.
He set the Purdue program record for most rebounds in a season (436) surpassing Joe Barry Carroll’s record of 1979. He also set a Purdue record for most double-doubles (20) in a season in addition to an NCAA record for most 20–20 performances (4). Swanigan finished the season as the Big Ten scoring champion, was unanimously voted as a First Team All-Big Ten and was eventually named the Big Ten Player of the Year. He was also listed among 4 finalists for the Naismith College Player of the Year Award.
Caleb Swanigan entered the 2017 NBA Draft and was selected in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers as the 26th overall pick. He made history as the first player out of Purdue University to be drafted at a level lower than the junior year.
At the 2017 NBA Summer League, the talented player put up a superb show as he featured in all 8 games with the Blazers. He averaged 16.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.25 assists and 1.4 steals per game, a performance which earned him All-Summer League First Team honors.
Swanigan featured in 15 games (3 games) with the Trail Blazers during the 2017-18 NBA season averaging 8.9 minutes, 2.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.6 assists. By December 2017, he was assigned to an NBA-G League team, the Canton Charge. He was recalled on February 4, 2018, after nearly 2 months.
Height and Other Body Measurements
Caleb Swanigan is 6 feet 8 inches (203 cm) tall, the exact full adult height of his biological father. The NBA star maintains a body weight of 113 kg (250 lbs). Growing up, Swanigan had challenges keeping his weight in check. Just like with his height, he also inherited the propensity for obesity from his dad. He eventually gained control over his physique with the help of his adoptive father, Roosevelt Barnes who was a professional athlete in his prime.
Other Facts About Caleb Swanigan
Swanigan’s father Carl Swanigan Sr. passed away in 2014 at age 50 owing to complications from diabetes. In his honor, the younger Swanigan chose jersey number 50 during his college basketball career at Purdue University.
On the international front, Caleb Swanigan represents the United States men’s basketball team. He won gold with the U17 squad at the 2014 U17 World Championship. He equally won gold with the U19 team at the 2015 FIBA Under-19 World Championship.