Purdue star not getting due respect

It would be fascinating to see what sort of career numbers Caleb Swanigan would produce playing four seasons of basketball at Purdue.

Chances are good that we’ll never know.

One of the program’s best players last season as a freshman, the 6-foot-9 forward/center has simply been off the charts as a sophomore, with numerous double-doubles and five Big Ten Player of the Week honors. So far.

And yet miraculously, Swanigan — arguably Purdue’s most dominant frontcourt talent since Glenn Robinson during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, has managed to stay largely beneath the radar in terms of national coverage.

If Swanigan did what he’s doing wearing the uniform of one of college basketball’s bluebloods — Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, UCLA or even UConn — the Fort Wayne product would have become a “SportsCenter” darling long ago.

Instead, we have to hear continuously about who Duke’s Grayson Allen — the Kelly Leak of college basketball minus the dirt bike and smokes — tripped, didn’t trip or might be thinking about tripping.

Also baffling is how Swanigan only recently began appearing in NBA mock drafts with websites predicting how the first and second rounds play out when the NBA draft takes place in June.

One site has Swanigan going 45th to the Houston Rockets. Another has the Rockets selecting him 40th overall, while a third I perused didn’t list Swanigan at all.

Even with the ongoing infusion of foreign players into the NBA, it’s hard to imagine there are 39 players better.

Swanigan’s habit of turning the ball over — he ranks first among Boilermakers with 3.5 per game — is apparently largely responsible for NBA scouts not being completely sold.

It’s the one area Swanigan, a relentless rebounder who during the offseason reshaped his body while adding a dependable 3-point shooting stroke, needs to fix.

It won’t happen in West Lafayette. At least not next season.

Swanigan is as good as gone when the 2016-17 campaign wraps up, which means the best way for him to enhance his draft status is to throw the Boilermakers on those broad shoulders of his and carry them deep into March.

Possibly even early April.

Given Purdue’s laughable NCAA tournament lineage and the fact just last season it faded down the stretch against mighty Arkansas-Little Rock before losing in double overtime, no one should hold their breath waiting for this to happen.

Still, Caleb Swanigan is more than capable.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.