Run-N-Slam Q & A: 2016 big man Caleb Swanigan talks body transformation, recruiting

  • 05/08/2014 9:32 am in

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Class of 2016 Homestead center Caleb Swanigan is one of the most sought after big men in the country.

At the first EYBL session, Swanigan averaged 17.2 points and 11.5 rebounds per game and his play in Sacramento has resulted in new offers and interest from across the country.

Inside the Hall caught up with Swanigan following a pool play game at last weekend’s Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam to get his thoughts on the transformation of his body over the last year, the new schools that have entered his recruitment and much much. Our full Q & A is below:

On the most recent schools to offer a scholarship:

Notre Dame, Louisville, Cal, a lot of other schools. UCLA and just many more schools that have put in offers this week.

On the feedback he’s received from schools since the first EYBL session in Sacramento:

It’s been great. We went out there and went 4-0. We don’t have any of the guys like James (Blackmon Jr.), Trevon (Bluiett) or Trey Lyles. We don’t have any of those guys, but we just relied on playing with each other and we surprised a lot of people out there.

On the major factors he’ll consider when choosing a school:

Just how comfortable I am and how I fit in with the coaching staff. If I don’t feel comfortable, then I don’t think I’ll be able to flourish there. So it may not be the biggest program, it may not be the smallest one, it’s just how I feel about the coaches.

On where he’s looking to expand his game this spring and summer:

Just getting into shape. I’ve lost about 15 pounds since the (high school) season ended. I’m just continuing to get into shape and doing things the way I’ve been doing them.

On how he’s transformed his body over the last year:

Just eating healthy and just working out. It’s every day. It’s just a grind every day. Once you get your body right, you see the results.

On Indiana’s scholarship offer and what their message has been:

It’s just big for an in-state college to offer you. With Indiana dropping into the mix, just hearing from Tom Crean and those guys. I’m excited to see James there next year and see how he likes it and I’ll talk to him.

On where things stand with Purdue:

Purdue has not offered yet, but they’ve told me they are interested in recruiting me since eighth grade.

On where things stand with Ohio State:

Ohio State has not offered either. They’ve recruiting me off and on, but I’m not sure where that stands.

On playing up a year in AAU:

I played up last year with Trey and James and those guys. It would feel different playing in my own age group.

On how losing weight has helped his game:

It’s helped every aspect of my game. Once you get fatigued, you start playing tired. But if you never get fatigued, you can play at your highest level. Just getting stronger and being able to jump higher, stuff like that improves everything in your game.

On the specific areas of his game he wants to work on this spring and summer:

My explosiveness and just my cardio and my endurance. I just want to be able to go over and over and have a good motor.

(Photo credit: NBPA Top 100 Camp)

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  • marcusgresham

    Anyone else think he looks like Coolidge from “The White Shadow”?
    I love everything he says….including the seeming indifference from Ohio State and slow reaction from Purdue.

  • MillaRed

    Gotta keep kids like this in the state.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    We cannot lose this guy.

  • Snookafly

    Can I just say that it’s frustrating to see the launch of the “CBS Sports Classic” that gives four more blue bloods another leg up in exposure and recruiting when we don’t even have one marquee matchup. It’s bad enough to see the ESPN “Champions Classic” every year– which is being held in Indianapolis so our recruiting rivals can showcase in front of our local talent. No wonder UK doesn’t need to play us anymore.

    Now there is another preseason hype builder for the “most elite programs” which we weren’t in on. UK (again), UNC, UCLA, and who did they pick form the B1G? OSU. I’m prepared to hear everyone tell me how we’d just lose to those teams anyway and how our schedule is great compared to last year. Fantastic.

  • MK

    maybe you should write Fred Glass a letter or something. What do you want us to do about it?

  • calbert40

    I am not one who believes that any single recruit is a “must have,” but I’d really, really like to have him. As we all know, highlight tapes only show us the good, and leave out the bad, but with that caveat out of the way, it appears that he has a good handle and is not fazed by double and triple teams in the post. He is more athletic than I remember. I’ve always considered him a bruiser…a bull in a china shop type of player, but he showed some nice touch out to 12′. He appears to be getting better, which is scary.

    I do have a couple questions about his game, though. First, he plays big, which is NOT a problem, but he isn’t 7′ either. I wonder if part of his ability to excel is that he is bigger than everyone right now? Once he has to play against guys who are bigger and stronger than him in the B1G, how will he respond? Secondly, in that short tape, he fouled out numerous times. He uses that elbow to wing people constantly. He will get a reputation and he will be a foul magnet. He needs to get that under control. But all in all, he is very impressive.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m with you on the “must have” thing…I’ve never understood what it meant. Anyway, there are a whole lot of guys in the 2016 class that many are considering “musts” or guys that we would really love to have. Gordon, Braxton Blackwell, Josh Langford, Thon Maker, De’Ron Davis, Barrett Benson, Kyle Guy, and of course, Swanigan (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten people)….point being, there’s a lot of talent out there. I don’t know which ones are going to end up being the cream of the crop but I hope a fair share of this seemingly terrific class ends up in candy stripes.

  • Caleb Moore

    have heard mixed opinions on where his recruitment stands, which probably means no one knows for sure and he’s still working through the process. Would be a big get for the Hoosiers and it’s a good sign he likes James. Just something tells me this could turn into another UL vs UK battle for him like it did for Trey.

  • Snookafly

    I just wanted to get it off my chest, and this site is dedicated to all things Indiana basketball. Those tournaments have a lot more to do with our ability to recruit than 20 highlight videos of kids who will probably never come to IU. But you’re totally right, fans settling for mediocrity definitely convinces a school’s administration to improve.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think your concern/gripe is perfectly legitimate and founded. I know Fred Glass is really searching for marquee home games (or marquee home-and-home series) but maybe that really is becoming a thing of the past. I am curious as to how aggressive we have been in trying to get involved with one of these new showcase events.

    I like the Big East-Big Ten thing (especially the timing of it) but if that’s our answer to the Champions Classic and the CBS Sports Classic…you are right, we are coming up short in comparison.

  • Bled4IU

    I love big body centers, need James to tell him to come on and play!

  • hardly

    no question gotta get the best players from Indiana as long as they’re the type of kid that deserves to wear the jersey…

  • Kyl470

    I’m not sure what our love affair is with wanting home and home series vs. other top teams. I think playing on neutral courts actually helps prepare you for the NCAA and Big Ten tournament atmosphere.

  • Alford Bailey

    lame

  • Alford Bailey

    valid

  • HoosierGrampy

    He’s got game–nice spin moves out of double-teams a 0:34 and 1:27. Plays through contact and seems to have a nose for the ball on missed shots (like Devin Davis). Motor will run longer as he adds strength. With 2 years of HS ball lying ahead of him, it’ll be interesting to follow his progress. He may never be considered a “must get” or a “program changer”, but he’s not likely to become an embarrassment, either. I could hear him singing Johnny Cash’s “I Got Stripes”….

  • vanpastorman

    I wish Devin could get 3 inches taller. But it’s wishful thinking. I said the same thing about Damon Bailey except for him I wanted 6 more inches.

  • Gregory Spera

    You are on the money. These major TV “classics” are just the latest example of how we are no longer playing with the big boys. It is something that I, as a long time Hoosier fan, have had a REALLY hard time coming to grips with. We are mentioned with the “elite” or “historic” basketball programs less and less all the time. The reason Kentucky can dump a 40 year rivalry. The reason ESPN analysts can debate the programs with the best “tradition” for 20 minutes and never even mention IU. Many on this forum have told me that my expectations for success are way out of whack, and the product of a bygone era. That is probably why I get so frustrated all the time. Because I remember how Indiana Basketball used to be. I’m having trouble letting go.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I know that we can’t get him to reclassify to 2014, but we need him RIGHT NOW.

  • marcusgresham

    If for no other reason that adjusting to the oddity of shooting in a cavernous environment. The depth perception is totally different as opposed to an arena.

  • marcusgresham

    Honestly, sign me up for Maker if I get to choose….and even if he is a one-and-done, you probably have the upper hand on replacing him with his brother.

  • marcusgresham

    Had he had better feet Pat Graham may well have been Damon Bailey 3 inches taller.

  • CreamandCrimson

    If only it was as easy as just making a choice!

  • MillaRed

    When I hear these recruits talk about our program the word tradition comes up often. In other words, “our past.” They also say things like “getting us back to where we want to be” etc.

    We are not an elite program right now. Did CTC have enough time to get us there? Probably not. I for on am guilty of debating on this and that and when doing so discussing things as if we are indeed elite. We’re just not. Realizing this is somewhat therapeutic. And sad at the same time.

    So, the multi-million dollar questions……….”What do we have to do to get there?” “How much longer does Crean have to achieve this?” “And the scariest of all, “Is it even possible to be a Kentucky/Duke/Florida type program again in our lifetimes?”

  • dtfreed

    Yes and everyone is trying to impress east coast area kids they forget about the midwest. Big East comes out ahead with those match ups since they are a bit of the little sister out east now. B1G is constantly trying to find another Indy type city for big events and there just aren’t any. As far as easy to get around, less expensive, etc.

  • Alford Bailey

    Its possible, but only if the administration puts their money where their mouth is and hires elite coach and recruiter.On the level of a Calipari style offense and recruiter. The next coach has to be a home run. If that happens IU could return to elite status fairly quickly IMO.

  • I’m not sure how far I should look into it but a well known hoops evaluator, who seems to be very much plugged into kids in Indiana (N.D. Kendrick) had a tweet this weekend that said “There’s no way he’s playing in the state of Indiana! That’s just a waste of time. For Real!” This guy is located in Evansville Indiana and is clearly an anti IU guy. I hate that guys like this have such close access to our kids. I can only imagine the negative recruiting he does behind the scenes.

  • I remember when I was 12 years old.

  • Speaking as someone who knows N.D. well, he’s not an anti-IU guy.

  • MK

    yawn

  • MK

    womp womp….here comes the cry baby crew

  • We’re all frustrated about it man. I’m just starting to realize that Indiana basketball is not and probably won’t quite ever be what it was. The greatest coach in our history was fired and embarrassed so badly, that he is dead set on going to his grave before returning to Assembly Hall. The players of past don’t seem to have much interest in us. We are smack dab in a cultural identity crisis. All of this great talent in our state grew up watching Indiana as a third rate program while the fan base was so rabid and cruel. Our fan base acts as though we are a Duke or UK but in reality, we aren’t even close. We are in the same class as the Iowa’s and Minnesota’s. Yeah we have a spectacular season once every 5 years, but we have slipped into mediocrity…. at best. We are a .600 team the LAST 20 YEARS!!!!! That’s all the evidence I’ve needed lately to realize that we all need to temper our expectations. Our fans are some of the best in the country in terms of knowing the game of basketball, but we are easily one of the worst in terms of our expectation levels compared to reality. We are that girl who thinks she’s a 10 when shes really only a 6. Truth hurts.

  • You sound tired. Have your parents layed you down for a nap today?

  • Indy was just voted the top convention city in the US two years in a row. It’s the ideal city to host major events in. Jim Delany is to the B1G what Mark Emmart is to the NCAA.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. I was really hoping he isn’t bashing us to the in state kids. He definitely comes across as anti IU on twitter but that could just be me only seeing the reply’s to IU fans, who can be brash at times. .

  • He is opinionated on Twitter, but that shouldn’t be twisted into coming on here and saying he is “clearly an anti IU guy.”

  • MK

    lol im just messin with u folks. its always so doom and gloom in here

  • Kyl470

    It’s really simple. Brad Stevens is one phone call and a big check away from dumping the Celtics and coming back to college. Any coach that can take Butler to back to back titles can take IU to multiple Final Fours.

  • Sure. I shouldn’t have stated that he is “clearly” anti IU. I should have said that he could easily be taken as an anti IU guy. He can be. He has had a lot of negative to say about IU and I’ve not once seen a positive tweet. That makes it easy for fans to make this assumption. I realize that we don’t have the privilege of knowing him personally, like yourself, but there should be some understanding on your part to see how the mistake can be made.

  • Michael

    lol

  • ForeverIU

    Well, he had this to say: “Indiana should make a call to Nate Pomeday now if they have yet to zero in on a replacement for Kenny Johnson.” Not familiar with him much, but he is offering us advice, isn’t he? And I have to think it’s genuine. Was curious and looked up his tweets (saw your response to his tweet about Swanigan, lol!). You might just be both good guys.

  • Jeff Smith

    Pat Graham’s feet and Oliphant’s knees (IIRC)….sigh

  • Jeff Smith

    Sad reality….is the fact we are not considered elite anymore. I am not sure how we fix it.

  • Snookafly

    I have some of the same questions. Are his numbers merely a reflection of his huge size advantage over high school competition? Will he be able to handle guys who match him in size, strength, and physicality? Honestly, will our coaching staff embrace a banger? Will Crean demand him to cut weight– in a way that changes his game (a program like MSU would probably take him “as is” in the weight department since Izzo loves those wide-bodies who knock people around)?

    Taking all of that into consideration, I’m with you– he still looks really good. He can finish through contact, he seems confident in the post, and he also shows some impressive finesse for his size. The confidence he was showing in his jumper was also nice to see in a big man.

  • ForeverIU

    He said he has been telling him!

  • ForeverIU

    Why would someone like Calipari want to give up what he has (if he is elite, then he is already at an elite school) to come to Indiana? If CTC is replaced, we are most likely getting someone who is “on the rise” and not yet a proven elite, which means we are giving up one gamble for another. CTC is a relatively young coach, and I think it is wiser to stick with him for 2-3 years.

  • Bled4IU

    That is awesome! I have mentioned before, but JBJ is the type of player that other elite players want as their teammate, should be great for next years commits.