Purdue and coach Matt Painter will welcome in a talented group of freshman this season, including 5-star recruit Caleb Swanigan, sharpshooter Ryan Cline and hard-nosed point guard Grant Weatherford. Swanigan and Cline finished one-two in the Indiana Mr. Basketball race this year and as such were both shoo-ins for the state's all-star team selections. Every year in June, a team of high school seniors selected from around Indiana get a chance to play four games in a week. Two of those games are against a team of Indiana's best junior high school players and the final two are played against a team of Kentucky all-stars, in a tradition that dates back to 1939.
Unfortunately for Indiana, Caleb Swanigan was called to play for his country and the USA Basktetball U19 training camp took precedent over representing his state. Swanigan and Purdue teammate Vince Edwards were two of just 24 players invited to the camp. Maryland's Diamond Stone was also invited, but withdrew to return to College Park. On Monday, it was announced that both Swanigan and Edwards had made it past the first round of cuts and would be among the 16 players competing for the 12 roster spots.
The final group will travel to Greece for the FIBA U19 World Championship with games starting on June 27th. This would be Swanigan's second time representing his country, as he was a part of the victorious U17 USA squad in 2014.
With no one to wear the #1 Mr. Basketball jersey, the Indiana All-Stars would need big games from other players if they were going to do their state proud. Ryan Cline seized the opportunity and led his team in combined minutes, points and made threes through their four games. In the first game against the Junior boys last Monday, Cline had 13 points as the All-Stars rolled to a 118-79 victory. On Wednesday, the Juniors were able to win 103-89, but Cline led all scorers with 28. You can watch some of the highlights from Cline against the Juniors here.
Friday night, the Indiana All-Stars traveled down to Transylvania University in Lexington and nearly gave away a win to the Kentucky team, but a lay-up by Cline with 25 seconds left gave Indiana the lead and they would hold on to win 83-80. Cline put up 23 points in the win and really did a lot down the stretch to help Indiana come back and win. In the rematch at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, Indiana was able to run away with the victory in the second half and extend the state's dominance over Kentucky with their 14-straight win. A strong combined effort from Indiana led to the 88-77 triumph and Cline managed to score 11 points in his final game before heading to Purdue the next day.
Bye bye Carmel it's been real. Off to West LaLa— Ryan Cline (@Ryan_Cline13) June 14, 2015
Swanigan and Cline weren't the only Boilers using last week to get better. Grant Weatherford missed out on being named an Indiana All-Star, but the youngster told the Journal & Courier's Nathan Baird that no matter who doubts him he will "keep working to prove everyone wrong." Weatherford has been on campus at Purdue all month and has been working on his game the whole time. For more on the least heralded member of Matt Painter's class, check out the article linked earlier in this paragraph.