Utah's Class 5A Player of the Year commits to Rebs

Coach Barnes has rallied the troops with the hiring of Coaches Dildy and White.<br><br>They are starting to reap the benefits of great hires and hard work, as Utah's Class 5A Player of the Year announced his verbal commitment to Ole Miss today.

Carl Swanigan (C, Ft. Wayne, IN) - Eric Vaughn, the AAU coach for Blessed IJN in Ft. Wayne, IN, has been around basketball a long, long time.

He claims he has never been around a better raw talent than Carl Swanigan, a 6-9 1/2, 320-pounder who plays for him in the summer and recently committed to Ole Miss.

"Carl has NBA skills," said Vaughn. "He needs to lose a little weight, but even as heavy as he is he can do a 360 dunk and can shoot the three. I follow basketball closely and nationally and in my opinion Carl is the most highly-skilled big man in the country."

Vaughn, who is now a youth minister in Ft. Wayne but has coached on the college and pro (CBA) levels, believes Swanigan is a can't-miss player.

"Carl has NBA potential. Certainly it's all up to him, but he's now seeing the big picture and is starting to understand that potential," Vaughn noted.

According to Vaughn, Swanigan has had a lot to overcome in his young life.

"He's had a tough background. Carl has been uprooted a couple of times due to some hard circumstances, but he's kept his head on straight and has come through it," Vaughn noted. "He was in Salt Lake City for a while, but through his Mother's advice came to live with me in Ft. Wayne. I was his legal guardian for a year, but last year we all decided he needed to go back to Salt Lake City to live with his uncle and play basketball.

"Carl led Hunter HS to the state championship after averging approximately 18 points and 15 rebounds and was the AAAAA Most Valuable Player in Utah. In fact, he hit two free throws with three seconds to go in the state championship game to win it for Hunter."

This summer, Swanigan will be playing for Blessed IJN.

"He will burst on to the national AAU scene this summer. He will go to the ABCD All-American Camp in July and is a McDonald's All-American candidate," Vaughn said.

Swanigan did not graduate from Hunter HS. He will attend Central Park High School in Birmingham, AL, next year in a fifth-year program so he can complete his high school education.

"We're all excited about the whole plan. Central Park is the place for him to get his degree and play his final season," Vaughn said. "As far as college goes, there really is no other college situation in the country for this particular kid that would be better than Ole Miss.

"Coach (Rod) Barnes is the perfect coach for him. Coupled with Coach (Tracy) Dildy, who I have known for years and years, it's the perfect fit. Ole Miss has a great 1-2 punch with those two. Coach Dildy is one of the best recruiters in the country and will help turn Ole Miss around quickly."

Vaughn believes strongly in Swanigan's ability.

"For a reference, Carl is three inches taller than Rahim Lockhart and has an excellent jump shot. He's a lefty like Rahim, but is a much better overall athlete," Vaughn stated. "Like I said, it's all up to Carl, but I think he understands what he has to do to take his career to its potential.

"Carl is a program-maker, talent-wise. He's the kind of player who can win a conference title for you. His work ethic is getting better and better the more he understands what's at stake and how far he can go. It's fun to watch him develop into a better player and into a man. That's why everyone is so excited about him going to Ole Miss - not only for his basketball development but for his growth as a human being. Like I said, a perfect fit."

OM Spirit Top Stories