Every time he has pulled on a Purdue jersey, Caleb Swanigan has grabbed double-digit rebounds and scored double-digit points. Let that sink in for a bit...
That's crazy, it is not easy to score 10 points in a game, but it is really hard to earn 10 boards in a game. For reference, let's look at the average rebounds per game over a full season for past Big Ten players. The last Big Ten player to average more than 10 a game? Michigan State's Draymond Green in 2011-12. Green averaged 10.6 rebounds a game as a senior. Here are some of the guys who have played in the Big Ten since then and never averaged double-figures: Branden Dawson (Best: 9.1), Noah Vonleh (9.0), Frank Kaminsky (8.2), Cody Zeller (8.1), Adreian Payne (7.6), and A.J. Hammons (7.4). All of those guys are currently on NBA with the exception of Swanigan's teammate Hammons who is still at Purdue.
Speaking of Purdue, they have only ever had a player average 10 or more rebounds a game 15 times. The most recent of which was Glenn Robinson (10.1) in 1994, before that was Joe Barry Carroll in 1978 (10.6) and 1979 (10.1). Swanigan has already been celebrated as Robinson's successor as he was the first Indiana Mr. Basketball to commit to the Boilers since Big Dog. Oh, and both Robinson and Carroll were #1 picks in the NBA Draft.
Now let's calm down a bit here, I'm not saying Biggie is going to finish the season averaging a double-double or be a #1 pick. After all, it has only been one regular season game, and Hammons wasn't playing. We will certainly see an adjustment in stats when the big guy returns to the court. However, what Swanigan has done so far is very impressive. It started in the Purdue intrasquad scrimmages. Caleb scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds in the first one, and followed that up with 22 and 13 in the second.
Next up was the closed scrimmage against Dayton in Indianapolis. Purdue reportedly beat the Flyers 84-74, as Swanigan notched 15 points and 14 boards. Those stats aren't official and Hammons sat out, but Dayton was an NCAA Tournament team last year and very well could be again. In the official exhibition against UNOH, Biggie finished with 12 and 11 in just 25 minutes.
On Friday we finally got to the official start of the season, and Purdue welcomed North Carolina A&T into Mackey. Swanigan played 27 minutes and scored 12 and pulled down 10 rebounds. In an impressive couple of minutes, Biggie hit a three and later dribbled behind his back before throwing an assist to Rapheal Davis for another trey. It is safe to say Purdue fans were quite impressed with the young man's debut.
When Hammons comes back, Biggie could see some of his points and rebounds gobbled up by one of the best centers in the Big Ten. Swanigan has been playing with Isaac Haas on the floor a lot, but he has also seen time as the only true big on the court without A.J.. I predict we will see that happen very little when Hammons returns. There is still a chance Caleb averages 10 and 10 or more and I wouldn't be surprised if he does. The last Big Ten freshman to accomplish a double-double average was Jared Sullinger in 2010-11 (17.2 and 10.2), someone that Swanigan has been compared to before, although I don't believe he is quite as polished as the former Ohio State star.