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Caleb Swanigan Is A Revelation

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The Ringer’s Mark Titus shares his praise of the Trail Blazers’ newest addition.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers’ addition of Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan in the 2017 NBA Draft has all the makings of a potential steal, at least according to The Ringer’s Mark Titus. Back in January, Swanigan’s performance caused Titus to pen an effusive article about the Boilermakers’ star player.

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan is the best big man in college basketball by a significant margin, and even if you already knew that, he’s still probably better than you realize.

Titus backs up his support of Swanigan by examining the statistical dominance that the big fella exerted through the first half of Purdue’s season.

No matter how you feel about contrived cutoff points to make guys fit into exclusive statistical groupings, there’s no denying that Swanigan has been otherworldly this season. He’s posted a double-double in 14 of Purdue’s 17 games (including four 20–20s) and leads the country in total rebounds per game, something no power-conference player has done since Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin in 2008–09.

Swanigan concluded his sophomore campaign with 28 double-doubles, trailing only Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado for rebounds per game. But,as Titus remarks, the 20-year-old’s intangibles seem to be just as impressive.

That’s what makes someone like Swanigan such a sight for sore eyes, especially for Purdue fans who had to deal with lethargic 7-footer A.J. Hammons for the past four seasons. Swanigan is more than just aggressive — he’s positively implacable with his work ethic.

He plays his ass off every second he’s on the court; he takes pride in doing the dirty work; and he’s so business-like in dominating the opposition that it almost feels like he’s trying too hard to pull off the I-care-so-little-about-being-cool-that-it-actually-makes-me-cool shtick.

Dominating college basketball is one thing, but becoming a transcendent NBA big man is a daunting hurdle. Titus alludes to the holes in Swanigan’s game as well.

It’s clear that there are doubts about Swanigan’s ability to succeed at the next level, even if I’m not much for projecting NBA potential. He isn’t the greatest athlete, his defense needs serious work, and he doesn’t fit the mold for any position in the league.

Despite that late trip back to Earth, it’s clear at least one observer ranks Portland’s new forward as worthy of a shot at the stars.

You can check out Titus’ full article - replete with video examples - by visiting The Ringer.