Former Homestead, Indiana and Purdue standout Caleb Swanigan has died of natural causes at the age of 25. The Allen County Coroner's Office confirmed the cause of death.
Devastated.— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) June 21, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends. The world lost a gentle soul last night.
Love you Biggie. pic.twitter.com/spU2hQtJdi
Swanigan played for two seasons with the Purdue Boilermakers. The forward won Big Ten Player of the Year and was named a consensus First Team All-American for his sophomore campaign. During that 2016-17 season, Swanigan averaged 18.5 points per game, 12.5 total rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game for Purdue, helping the Boilermakers advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA.
Swanigan was drafted in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017. He made 75 appearances and four starts during his three seasons in the NBA after being drafted by the as the No. 26 overall pick and also played for the Sacramento Kings.
“The Purdue basketball family is deeply saddened and devastated at the loss of Caleb Swanigan,” head coach Matt Painter said in a statement on the team’s website. “Caleb was a very thoughtful individual and a gentle soul who excelled both on and off the court. He made a huge difference in everyone’s lives that he touched and he will be greatly missed.”
“During his NBA career, Swanigan worked extensively with Portland-area youth and Food Corps to promote healthy eating habits in schools and eliminate child hunger,” Purdue’s statement added.
Swanigan was open during his college career about his experience with homelessness as a child before being adopted. His father suffered from a drug addiction and Swanigan lived in homeless shelters five times growing up while fluctuating between Indiana and Utah, where his mother lived. His father later died from diabetes-related causes in 2014.
At the age of 13, former Purdue football player Roosevelt Barnes began to mentor and eventually adopt Swanigan. Barnes helped Swanigan in trying to develop better eating habits following years of food insecurity problems while encouraging him to pursue his skills on the basketball court. As he grew into the game, Swanigan initially committed to play for the Michigan State Spartans before later flipping his commitment to play for Purdue. Swanigan would go on to be invited to the McDonald’s All-American game and be named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball before enrolling in West Lafayette.
Swanigan would go on to receive a diploma in Educational History from Purdue. From the Big Ten basketball family, we all extend our thoughts and best wishes to the friends and family of Caleb Swanigan and the Purdue basketball family.