He may have the same nickname as Biggie Smalls, but Caleb Swanigan certainly does not have the ostentation of the late great hip-hip artist. Notorious B.I.G. “went from from ashy to flashy” as he liked to say. Biggie Swanigan puts the reserve in reserved.
During the Purdue Boilermakers media availability on the day in between the first and second round games, Caleb Swanigan spent the entire open locker room session on a stationary bike with his hooded sweatshirt worn tight.
How tight? He pulled the draw strings of the hood in as tightly as possible, like Kenny on “South Park.”
Needless to say, Swanigan didn’t talk to the media during the session, nor was he one of the three Purdue players to do the podium media session that day. Swanigan has been readily accessible to the media all season long, so what happened Friday was actually a rarity. It’s just that when he talks, it’s in very short sentences; and he shows little to no emotion.
The reigning Basketball Times National Player of the Year, consensus B1G Player of the Year and Naismith Award Finalist is just a “Shy Guy” as Diana King sang on the Bad Boys soundtrack in 1994.
As a reporter pointed out to Purdue Coach Matt Painter, most media members are lucky to get even five words from Biggie (and those words don’t come with a lot of color emotional pizzaz either). The reporter then asked Purdue Coach Matt Painter the following questions:
“Have you seen a side of him that we all haven’t seen?
“Does he ever really open up to you or to the guys in the locker room?
“He opens up on his own terms,” Painter responded.
“He’s not going to pass out that trust. You’re going to have to earn that trust through time and being around him and him feeling comfortable with it. And he’s about playing the game and winning. He’s a good teammate, good guy. It’s not a bad thing that he doesn’t want to talk to the media all the time. You grow up in their society, a lot of those guys, they form their form and identity on social media.
“They’re quick to tell you how they are. You guys have formed his identity on his production and how he’s played and carried himself. He’s a good student and guy. He likes basketball. Keeps his nose clean. I think it’s a pretty good story, especially where he came from.”
Remember Caleb Swanigan is not a late night talk show host, or the headliner act at The Laugh Factory, he’s stellar power forward who can shoot the three ball, and he’s projected to be a late first round NBA Draft pick.
He doesn’t do the talking, he lets his game do the talking.
“He’s reserved. There’s no doubt about it”.
“He’s private and that’s okay. We want him to be himself. I don’t try to form my players’s opinions. I allow them to kind of grow on their own.”
Swanigan led the Boilermakers to a thrilling 80-76 win over Iowa State in Saturday’s second-round clash, narrowly missing a triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Purdue fell behind by one in the second half, after blowing a 19 point second half lead.
Purdue will tip off Thursday night at approximately 9:38 EST in Kansas City to take on #1 seed Kansas.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.com, Bold, WGN CLTV and KOZN.Follow paulmbanks