Caleb Swanigan Dies at Age 25; Former Purdue Star Drafted by Blazers in 2017

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - FEBRUARY 06: Caleb Swanigan #50 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts in the second quarter against the San Antonio Spurs during their game at Moda Center on February 06, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Caleb Swanigan has died at age 25, according to Aaron Organ of WANE 15.

The Allen County (Indiana) Coroner’s Office told Organ that Swanigan died of natural causes.

Purdue mourned the death of the Boilermakers standout:

Purdue Mens Basketball @BoilerBall

💔 Devastated. <br><br>Our thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family and friends. The world lost a gentle soul last night. <br><br>Love you Biggie. <a href="https://t.co/spU2hQtJdi">pic.twitter.com/spU2hQtJdi</a>

The Indianapolis native was a first-team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2016-17. He parlayed that success into becoming the 26th overall pick of the Blazers in the 2017 NBA draft.

Across three seasons in the NBA with the Blazers and Sacramento Kings, he averaged 2.3 points and 2.9 rebounds and shot 43.8 percent from the floor. His last appearance came March 10, 2020, in Portland's regular-season finale against the Phoenix Suns.

Former Blazers teammates Evan Turner and Jusuf Nurkic reacted to the news of Swanigan's death:

Evan Turner @thekidet

R.i.p. caleb Swanigan

Jusuf Nurkić @bosnianbeast27

My thoughts and prayers to Caleb Swanigan’s family 🙏🏻 <a href="https://t.co/IHMGWTAWcw">https://t.co/IHMGWTAWcw</a>

Swanigan's exploits at Purdue will be fondly remembered by Boilermakers fans. The Salt Lake Tribune's Eric Walden shared comments from Purdue forward Trevion Williams outlining his continued impact:

Eric Walden @tribjazz

When Purdue star and current NBA draft prospect Trevion Williams came to Salt Lake City for a predraft workout, he had this to say about the impact Caleb Swanigan had on him both on and off the court: <a href="https://t.co/KgRfYunqlT">https://t.co/KgRfYunqlT</a> <a href="https://t.co/w7nnIvJHfO">pic.twitter.com/w7nnIvJHfO</a>

Mr. Basketball for Indiana in 2015, Swanigan was the No. 19 overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings for that year. Following a solid freshman season, he emerged as a star for Purdue in his sophomore campaign. He averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds as Matt Painter's squad reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Swanigan returned to Purdue and received his degree in 2019.