The Purdue Boilermakers men’s basketball team has made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament thanks in part to 19-year-old power forward Caleb Swanigan who’s had 28 double-doubles this season. Swanigan is also known for transforming his body. During the summer before eighth grade, Swanigan weighed 360 pounds. Before he went to Purdue, Swanigan, 6’9″ tall, slimmed down — to 249lbs.
During the tournament, former NBA star turned announcer Charles Barkley said he knew what it was like to play with extra weight. In college, Barkley played at 300 lbs. It wasn’t until he made it into the NBA that he lost 50 lbs. But you can’t fairly compare Barkley’s story to Swanigan’s. Swanigan, one of six children living with their mother, was in and out of homeless shelters as a child while his late father wrestled with a crack-cocaine addiction. As Swanigan explains about his weight, “It is a lot more expensive to eat healthy than it is to eat unhealthy. If you’re in a position to eat right, then you should eat right. Sometimes, financially, it just isn’t right.” That’s how you get to be 360 lbs. Discipline, hard work and determination — qualities Swanigan has in abundance — is how you lose 110 lbs and get to the Sweet 16.
Purdue will face Kansas in Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday, March 23 (9:30pm on CBS). Note: While the Jayhawks won the last two NCAA meetings against Purdue (2012, 1997), the Boilers did beat Kansas in the 1994 Sweet 16.
This is Caleb Swanigan (in the yellow shirt) in 8th grade, working out with his brother, Carl Jr. “Biggie” has changed his body and life. pic.twitter.com/636PYasQj4
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) January 24, 2017