Wild ride ends in unique fit for Swanigan

Five-star Caleb Swanigan is headed to Purdue, and now the focus shifts to how does Matt Painter make it work for the Boilermakers.

For five-star center Caleb Swanigan it is has been a long recruitment. A journey that included a grade re-classification, a surprise commitment, a de-commitment, and now another commitment, the home for Swanigan in college will be at Purdue.

For the 6-foot-9 Swanigan nothing in the recruitment has been by the book. He had offers from nearly everywhere, but took a different approach to his recruitment. Now after thinking things over, and even re-thinking them, Swanigan has found his home, and it had everything to do with the fit.

Despite being listed as a center, Swanigan wants to play power forward in college. That is eventually what made the difference for him, as Purdue has established low post centers in Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons.

Now the challenge is with Matt Painter and his staff to make this work, because they will have to have a unique system in place to make it all fit together.

Physically and with his game, Swanigan is very similar to former Ohio State standout Jared Sullinger. Sullinger, who played almost exclusively at center for the Buckeyes, was a dominant rebounder, a good low post scorer, but struggled to defend. Many of those same qualities apply to Swanigan.

Now one has to assume that Purdue is going to go zone on defense, and that will hide the lack of foot speed on their front line, especially in ball screen situations, but even more interesting will be how they attack teams on offense.

In this day and age of college basketball the teams almost always have to be able to space the floor and create driving lanes as well as make three point shots. Even Kentucky this year, which might have three NBA lottery picks in June, struggled on offense with their lack of floor spacing at times while playing a big lineup.

Because of that Painter and his staff are going to have to figure out the best way to do things. Swanigan can step out all the way to three point range and make shots, but that isn’t going to be his bread and butter, especially in college. Haas and Hammons are almost exclusively 12 feet and in players.

Painter is a talented coach with a tremendous staff, so there is no doubt they will have a good plan in place for the offensive and defensive end.

The days of motion offense and tough man-to-man defense look to be over at Purdue, but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Things will be different in West Lafayette, and at the moment no one quite knows what the next step is for Purdue, but there is no doubt that the next step will be taken with one of the most physically imposing frontlines in the country.

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