Purdue Boilermakers’ power forward Caleb Swanigan is turning heads at the NCAA Basketball Tournament after spending the season compiling stats that summon some elite comparisons. As The Journal Gazette reports, Swanigan’s averages of 18.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists have been matched over a full season by one player since 1992. Ever hear of Tim Duncan (Wake Forest)? Swanigan’s teammate, Purdue point guard P.J. Thompson says, “It’s become such a routine that we almost expect it from him [Swanigan], and that’s something you shouldn’t expect, to have a teammate in the ranks of Tim Duncan.” Swanigan has also been linked to NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who played at Auburn when he weighed nearly 300 pounds. (Swanigan, who weighed far more than that in the eighth grade, has lost a considerable amount of weight to arrive at his double-double machine level.)
Swanigan is also being hailed for being “just the sixth player in the last 20 years with multiple performances of 20 points and 20 rebounds” putting him in the company of Blake Griffin (Oklahoma Sooners). Note: back in the day at the University of Massachusetts, Julius Erving — aka Doctor J — averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds one season. In other words it’s now hard to talk about Swanigan without mentioning some of the greats — and that’s the highest compliment there is. In the Sweet 16, Purdue faces Kansas on Thursdays, March 23 at 9:30 on CBS.