Caleb Swanigan works out for Pacers, says he’s still with Purdue

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Pacers welcomed six potential rookies for pre-draft workouts Monday, with Purdue product Caleb Swanigan among those participating. The 6’9″ forward is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he was Big Ten Player of the Year.

After testing NBA draft waters last season, Swanigan said he feels more prepared for the process this time around.

“Being through it before it gives me a good idea of what to expect and the difference this year is that I had a better year and showed a lot more things and it just gives you different stock coming into the draft,” Swanigan said. “I feel like I’ve grown through maturation and working hard, I’ve grown a lot since last year.”

Swanigan, aka Biggie, is among the six participants that will be in Indianapolis for their pre-draft workout. The others are Jordan Bell (Oregon), Josh Hart (Villanova), Wesley Iwundu (Kansas State), Monte Morris (Iowa State) and Derrick White (Colorado). The Pacers hold the 18th overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Swanigan said he received positive feedback regarding his sophomore season with the Boilers and demonstrated growth in his game compared to last year when he tested the NBA waters. This season, Biggie averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season. Swanigan said he’s continued to adhere to a strict diet and workout program and credits that with dropping 10 pounds since his collegiate season ended in the Sweet Sixteen.

“I continued to work on my body and be more consistent shooting the ball and finishing at a higher rate and being better on the defensive end, and I feel like I improved at every one,” he said.

Swanigan, who attended Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, acknowledged that he’d been a fan of the franchise, even though he spent part of his childhood elsewhere.

“I’ve always like the Pacers even when I was out in Utah when they had the Jermaine O’Neal team and those guys like Stephen Jackson I was a big Pacers fan,” Swanigan said. “As far as dreaming of playing for them you never really think of it, you’re just a fan of the team.”

“Just being a Hoosier, there’s a lot of support from growing up here,” Swanigan said of the potential to play in his home state.

While Swanigan indicated feedback following his performance in last week’s NBA Combine was positive, however there has been nothing definitive yet to convince him to forgo his remaining eligibility with the Boilermakers. Biggie even said he’s continuing his summer school classes and could complete his degree in the spring semester.

“I’m just starting this NBA process, so it would take news for me to leave Purdue, so I’m still at Purdue,” Swanigan clarified. “I’m still enrolled, I’m still taking classes. I’m not in a rush this year. I’m just more trying to figure out what I’m doing.”

If he does decide to turn pro, Swanigan was quick to say that he would still graduate with his degree.

“There’s no reason to be this close and not go get it, especially when it’s been paid for you have to take advantage of things like that.”

Swanigan said it would take finding the right fit on a roster to convince him to leave West Lafayette.

“It’s really hard but you can feel what you need to do and you just have to make the best decision for you even if it may not be something you want to do, but you have to make the right choice for your family.”

Swanigan said he also has workouts with several teams, including  a workout with the Brooklyn Nets scheduled for Thursday. He indicated he will wait to make a decision “a day or two” before the deadline because he has a workout on May 22 with the Orlando Magic. The deadline for players to decide to enter the NBA Draft or return to college is May 25.