For all intents and purposes Caleb Swanigan will be the next individual Purdue player honored with a banner in Mackey Arena. It is an honor normally reserved for First Team All-Americans, but E’Twaun Moore (I think because he scored 2,000 career points) and Robbie Hummel (won the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award) got theirs for other reasons.
Swanigan will get his for a number of reasons. He is in the running for National Player of the Year. He is very likely a First Team All-American. He should be the Big Ten Player of the year too. today it was announced he was up for another national award, as he was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Karl Malone Award given to the nation’s top power forward:
Given to the nation’s top power forward, the list has been whittled down from 20 candidates in October to the 10 announced today. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Malone and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee for the 2017 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. The winner of the 2017 Karl Malone Award will be presented at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards, presented by Wendy’s, live from The Novo by Microsoft in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Swanigan was on the preseason watch list much like Vince Edwards (the Julius Irving Award for small forwards) and Isaac Haas (The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Ward for centers). Last year A.J. Hammons was a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award.
Caleb has an EXCELLENT chance at winning this award too. Here are his averages compared to the other nine finalists:
Caleb Swanigan - Purdue - 18.9 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Lauri Markkanen - Arizona - 16.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
Johnathan Motley - Baylor - 16.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.1 apg
Ivan Rabb - California - 15.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.8 apg
Dedric Lawson - Memphis - 19.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.5 apg
Miles Bridges - Michigan St. - 16.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 apg (had 33-7 head-to-head vs. Caleb, Caleb had a 25-17-3)
Bonzie Colson - Notre Dame - 15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.7 apg (had a 23-10 head-to-head vs. Caleb, Caleb had a 26-10)
Michael Young - Pittsburgh - 20.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 apg (had 16-12-3 head-to-head vs. Caleb in 2015-16, Caleb had 4-8-2)
T.J. Leaf - UCLA - 17.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.7 apg
Alec Peters - Valparaiso - 23.9 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.2 apg
As you can see, Caleb played three of the other finalists head-to-head (one of htem last year) and has availed himself well. He has the 4th highest scoring average and the highest rebounding average (because, well, he lads the nation in rebounding). he also has the most assists of all of them.