Purdue's Caleb Swanigan, who has ties to the state of Utah, will continue his remarkable journey with the Portland Trailblazers, who selected him with their No. 26 pick during Thursday's NBA draft.
The Deseret News' Jody Genessy wrote about Swanigan's unique and inspiring story after the 6-foot-9 prospect following a workout with the Utah Jazz.
Swanigan spent time living in West Valley City, downtown Salt Lake and Glendale from ages 5 to 13. His mother, Tanya, moved to Utah in hopes of stabilizing her family by moving her six children away from their father, who had a crack cocaine addiction, according to the article.
He then moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he was taken in by Roosevelt Barnes, before moving on to sign and play for Purdue.
Along the way Swanigan fought obesity and a very rough childhood during which his family moved constantly from homeless shelters and low-income housing.
“It (challenges) makes it huge. A lot of guys may feel pressure on the court, but when you face real-life pressure, it’s a total difference,” Swanigan said following his workout with the Jazz. “It makes it a lot easier on the court. It’s really just basketball. It’s fun.”
Swanigan averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists for Purdue this past year and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, along with becoming a consensus All-American.