Saturday could be a big day for Purdue's 2015-16 men's basketball season, as Caleb Swanigan, a player who quite honestly fits in perfectly with what Purdue has returning, could decide to become a Boilermaker. He would come into a situation where the Boilers could be absolutely loaded in the frontcourt:
Centers: A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas
Power Forwards: Swanigan, Jacquil Taylor
Small Forwards: Vince Edwards, Rapheal Davis, Basil Smotherman
Caleb cannot ask for better personnel around him. The No. 8 player in the 2015 class is coming off of a state championship, a Mr. Basketball award, and a McDonald's All-American Game nod. If he commits, he would be Matt Painter's highest-rated recruit by far, and might be the biggest commitment for the entire program since Glenn Robinson. He would also be the first Mr. Basketball landed by Purdue since Robinson.
He does not want to play center and he would have two 7-footers (maybe) to make sure he never has to play a second there. He would allow Vince Edwards to shift to the three, where Edwards could destroy teams offensively. Also, Purdue would still have shooters in Dakota Mathias, Kendall Stephens, and Ryan Cline to take advantage of teams having to handle him and Haas/Hammons both down low. It is exciting to think about.
So what are Purdue's chances? First, let's look at his final seven schools:
Kentucky, Arizona, California, Chicago State, Duke, Michigan State, Purdue
The first one to be eliminated is Chicago State. They made the cut because they offered him long ago, but it would be absolutely shocking if he ended up at a program that has been at the bottom of Division I basketball since moving to Division I. If they landed Swanigan it would be one of the biggest coups in recruiting history.
Out: Chicago State
So that leaves six programs, three of which were just in Indianapolis for the Final Four, and one which won the national championship. Those are tough programs to compete against, especially since Purdue was a first round exit, had missed two straight tournaments, and hasn't been to a Final Four since Jimmy Carter was in office.
Those Boilers are still alive, however, probably because of the unique situation we offer with our returning players and because his guardian is former Boilermaker football players Roosevelt Barnes. Caleb is on the record as saying that the connection does not give Purdue an inside track, but it doesn't hurt.
We might be able to narrow the last six down to three, however, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:
"Just from having my ear to the ground and talking to different people, I would place the trio of Cal, Purdue and Michigan State in front," Meyer said.
Boilermakers coach Matt Painter was a regular visitor to Homestead this past season as he looks to add arguably the biggest recruit into the Purdue program since Glenn Robinson in 1991.
"The attractiveness of Purdue, besides the fact that it's a fine school, is that Caleb would like to play a lot of the four-spot," Meyer said. "He doesn't want to just be that bruiser under the basket.
"Caleb wants to be that face-up four-man type and not have his back to the basket. Purdue wants him as that."
A recent article from Mlive supports this:
Swanigan previously narrowed his list of schools down to seven. According to The Star, his decision "will likely come down to Cal, Duke, Michigan State or Purdue" and is likely to happen on Saturday.
So, assuming that is true (and it is a leap) we can eliminate three more:
Out: Duke (maybe), Kentucky, Arizona
History has not been kind to Purdue when competing against Michigan State for five-star recruits, but according to Doug Griffiths, a former GBI writer and currently working for the Plymouth Pilot News, the Spartans might be out:
Out: Michigan State
So are we really down to the last two, battling former player Cuonzo Martin for Caleb's commitment? SB Nation's California Golden Blogs has more to say:
Swanigan's decision comes this Saturday, and I'd expect the dominoes to fall soon after that regarding the elite prospects. It's hard to believe that Swanigan is probably the dark horse among this talented trio, but Michigan State has made him priority uno since the beginning, and there are plenty of other national programs to swoop in if he doesn't want Sparty. However, the Swanigan relationships with Rabb and Cuonzo Martin cannot be discounted. The prospect of dominating the Pac-12 for a year has to sound tantalizing.
There is also a video of Caleb being named the Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year:
So that is the latest. We might hear something on Saturday, or we might not. He can officially sign in eight days when the spring signing period begins on April 15. Whatever school he chooses, I wish Caleb the best. It can't be an easy decision, so as long as he is not going to Indiana (though picking Michigan State and making us play him would sting) it's cool.