Three-star wing Cole Swider was unranked in the latest Scout.com 2018 player rankings released in February before the spring AAU season got underway. Through the first five games of Nike EYBL action, he's sent a message with his play that he may deserve a number next to his name.
Swider finished last weekend ranked sixth in scoring in EYBL play with an average of 21.8 points to go with 7.8 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field including knocking down 12-of-16 attempts from 3-point range over four games. After leading his BABC squad again with 30 points in an 83-73 win over Seattle Rotary Friday night, he admitted that he came into the spring feeling like he had something to prove.
"A bunch of rankings ranked me like 90 or 95 in the country," Swider said. "I don't really pay attention to that stuff but I felt kind of underrated coming in here so I wanted to prove a point."
Already known as a knockdown shooter early in his career, Swider's frame has filled out and he's developed a more well-rounded game. His strength and toughness stood out on Friday night.
"I think shooting is a strength. And I think my rebounding and toughness is a strength," he said. "I have to work on my foot speed. And I can dribble the ball a little bit but I need to work on that too."
Those traits are why coaches at high-major programs have been staying in constant contact with him.
"Xavier, Villanova, Texas, Creighton, Providence, Syracuse, Miami…it's a bunch of schools… Indiana, Wake Forest," Swider rattled off when asked which schools were showing him the most interest. "I'm looking for a place that I can come in and play right away, a place that can develop me and hopefully get me to the next level."
Xavier has made Swider a priority for a while now and he said he currently talks to the Musketeers' staff every day. Head coach Chris Mack and assistant Luke Murray were both courtside for his performance on Friday night.
"Since Trevon and JP are going to graduate, they think I can come in and play right away," Swider said. "It's great to hear and they made it to the Elite Eight this year."
He visited Xavier back in early November for the Musketeers' home opener and left with a good impression of the Cintas Center.
"I liked the facilities," he said. "The crowd was crazy. They were playing against Lehigh and it was packed. They have a great plan for me and I can't wait."
He's also visited Villanova, Creighton, Butler, Providence, and Boston College. He plans to take more visits when his schedule permits and he's said he wants to make a decision "sooner rather than later," but for now, he's focused on continuing his strong start on the Nike EYBL circuit.
"Right now, I'm just focused on AAU season," he said. "I'll worry about that after."