WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WANE) – Caleb Swanigan has seen his fair share of success over the past couple of years. The 6’9 power forward won the 4A state championship his senior season at Homestead, was named Indiana Mr. Basketball in 2015, was invited to play in the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic, all before signing to play at Purdue after being one of the country”s highest sought after recruits.
Life hasn’t always been this easy for Biggie. His father was a drug addict and growing up Swanigan moved back and forth between Indiana and Utah multple times. His mother could not hang on to a steady job so he would bounce around homeless shelters with his brothers and sisters. His older brother Carl, who at one point signed to play basketball at Ole Miss, saw that Caleb had the potential to play big time college basketball if given the right opportunity. He called up prominent sports agent, Roosevelt Barnes, and asked him to let Biggie stay with him in Fort Wayne. Barnes took Swanigan in and helped him find a path to success. In a matter of year Swanigan had dropped over 100 pounds and was well on his way to becoming Homestead’s all-time leading scorer.
Barnes adopted Swanigan last year and is a constant source of support and encouragement. Whenever Swanigan’s schedule allows, Barnes will practice with him at Purdue’s facilities.
Swanigan still keeps in touch with his biological family. He says they will watch him play on TV and call him to talk about the games. They haven’t had a chance to see him play in person but there are plans for some to make the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament.