Swilling is staying busy

Inconsistent guard play and losing in-state talent was the Achilles heel of the LSU basketball program under John Brady, but Trent Johnson plans to reverse both of those trends. One player for the class of 2010 that could address both of those issues is Pat Swilling, Jr. from New Orleans.

A junior at Brother Martin, Swilling is mostly known for his skills on the basketball court at this point.


However, he is currently putting his talents to use for the Crusaders’ football team where he has logged 10 tackles and picked off one pass midway through his junior campaign.


“I’ll start basketball when football is over,” said Swilling, who is a starting cornerback for the Crusaders. “We are 5-0 right now and ranked pretty high in the power rankings. We start to get into district this week with Jesuit.”


It’s not too surprising to hear Swilling is also a great player on the football field as his father, Pat Swilling, played linebacker for 12 years in the NFL and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1991.


The younger Swilling says he looks to his father for advice in more than one area.


“What many people don’t realize is that my dad was also a good basketball player growing up,” he said. “He went to play football at Georgia Tech, but he could’ve played basketball at a lower Division I school. So he helps me out in both sports. And he’s been through the whole recruiting process before, so he gives me a lot advice on that too.”


Swilling said that if he does opt to play football in college then he will have to move to safety because he is already in the 6-3, 210-pound range.


While he may be too big to play cornerback in college football, those measurements make for the perfect combo guard in college basketball. But his size is just one of the many elements of Swilling’s game that make him a threat on the court.


“I take my physicality from playing football and apply it to basketball,” said Swilling, who averaged 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists as a sophomore. “When I’m playing point and a smaller guy is on me I’ll take him down in the post. When I’m on the wing and a bigger guy is on me I’ll shoot it from outside. Most people see me as a 3-point shooter, but I’m comfortable with my mid range game and going to the goal.”


With his dad spending the majority of his time in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, and then moving back to New Orleans when his playing career was over, Swilling has been pretty much born and raised in Louisiana. As a result, like most kids from Louisiana he grew up a fan of LSU.


“I’ve always loved LSU,” he said. “I watch them on TV all the time in basketball and football, and I hate when they lose. It’s always going to be in my top group of schools. Plus, they are recruiting a bunch of my friends for basketball like Langston Galloway, Matt Derenbecker, Eddie Ludwig, and Chip Armelin, so I’d love to go there with all my friends.”


Its multi-talented, versatile players like Swilling that LSU basketball coach Trent Johnson seems to be targeting to rebuild his program going forward. And thus far in the process, Swilling is impressed with the Tigers’ new headman.


“I’ve talked with coach Johnson and coach Scott a few times,” he said. “It's been a while since we have talked because I’ve been busy with football. But coach Johnson came to watch me at football practice a little while ago. And my dad just talked to them last week. Plus, I get letters from them just about every day.


“He’s a cool dude, and I think he’s a good coach,” Swilling said of Johnson. “What he did with Stanford last year was pretty impressive. For LSU to get him was a good move for both of them.”


Swilling also likes the way Johnson handles his players before and after he signs them.


“He knows basketball and expects a lot out of his players,” said Swilling. “He seems a little stern, but is respectful of his players and gets a lot of out of them. He wants the best for them and pushes them to get better and get the most out of them. Now he’s recruiting in-state guys and trying to keep all the instate guys here to play for LSU and I like that.”


While the possibilities of teaming up with his good friend Galloway are pulling at Swilling’s attention, he plans to heed his father’s advice and take the recruiting process slowly.


But at this point, things are looking good for the home state Tigers.


“I’m going to be making a lot of visits,” Swilling said. “For football I’m going to go visit Oklahoma and Georgia Tech. I was going to go to LSU this weekend for the Georgia game, but I won’t be able to because we play Jesuit on Saturday. For basketball I’m supposed to go to LSU, USC, and Georgia Tech. My visits to LSU will be planned ahead, but Langston might call me and ask me to go to a game with him one weekend or something.


“I’m very interested in LSU,” he added. “They are my home school, and the program is headed in the right direction.”


And as far as being a two-sport athlete at the next level, Swilling is not sure yet if he wants to continue doing both in college. It’s a decision he may soon have to make though as he is currently being pursued from different directions.


“Both LSU and USC have offered me for basketball, and both have told me I could play both sports,” he said. “My dad has been talking to Georgia Tech a lot lately, and they have basically offered me for both sports. Besides those schools, in basketball I’m getting looked at by Florida, Indiana, Baylor, Ole Miss, Tulane, UNO, and most of the local schools. In football I hear from Oklahoma, Auburn, Georgia, and Connecticut.


“I’d love to do both sports, but I’m sure it’s much harder in college than high school,” Swilling continued. “You have to stay at a high level in both sports. I used to prefer football when I was younger, but now in high school I love them both. Whatever season it is that’s my favorite at the time.”

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