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Cal Basketball Recruiting Scouting Report: Caleb Swanigan

Back on the recruiting trail.... After losing Dorsey to Oregon, could Coach Cuonzo shore up our frontline instead? Let's take a look at what Caleb Swanigan brings to the table and how he would fit into our current rotation.

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A targeted recruit. So of course we need a scouting report. Here is your look at 2015 McDonald's All-American Caleb Swanigan!

First your basic information:

  • Name: Caleb Swanigan
  • Position: Center/Forward
  • School: Homestead
  • AAU: Spiece Indy Heat
  • Height: 6'9"
  • Weight: 260 lbs
  • Rating: 5-Star (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
  • Considering: Cal, Indiana, Kentucky, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, UCLA

Losing Rooks to injury this year definitely showed that we need to add size and depth to our front court. Adding Swanigan to Okoroh, Rooks, Behrens, and Rabb (Hopefully...) would allow Coach Cuonzo to play the line-up & style he wants. Let's see what he brings to the table.


  • Polished Offensive Game. The kid is an absolute terror to guard on offense. He can take you off the dribble, from the post and also can pick and pop from midrange. But his entire offensive arsenal is based around his footwork. Looking at some of his game tape, its fairly easily noticeable that he spent time studying Hakeem Olajuwon and his post moves. Outside the post, Caleb can comfortably step out to knock down 16-18 foot jumpers. His range is also increasing to the point where he occasionally does take corner and wing 3s if he is open.
  • Great Hands. I haven't seen any hand measurements but his hands surely have to be fairly big. He is able to catch any ball that comes in his general direction and never loses grip. He keeps his hands up when moving around the court, allowing him to be ready for a pass at any time. With his big hands he's able to make passes from simply palming a ball. He guards the paint well too. His quick hand speed allows him to adjust for blocks both high up or on reverse plays. He is definitely an on-ball shot blocker more than a weak side helper.
  • Basketball IQ. He plays the game with intelligence and is very aware of his surroundings. With his large hands he able to make simple passes out of double teams to open teammates, and also to teammates making basket cuts. It's also easy to see that he plays to what the defense gives him. He neither tries to force a specific way to the basket, nor settles for a jumper upon catching a pass. Caleb always makes the first move and then attacks on his second depending on how the defense adjusts themselves. He also realizes when to run the break and gets out in transition pretty well.

Now lets look at some areas of concern:

  • Size. This isn't really something he can work on, but being a center at only 6'9" will be a concern going into play against top tier NCAA Centers. Thomas Welsh, Jakob Poetl, Dusan Ristic, Kaleb Tarczewski, are just a few guys that he would have to face in the Pac-12. All have at least 2-3 inches on Caleb. So it will be tough in terms of matching up against the big bodies. We have already seen a 6'9" player go up against them and be not too successful... Christian Behrens.
  • Athleticism. Compared to his size, Swanigan is not overtly athletic. You won't see him posterize anyone, and doesn't quite have the vertical explosion. But I'm thinking Coach Nicodemus can help close the gap between his talent and athleticism.

Fit with the Bears:

Caleb may be listed as a Center, but I see him panning out as more of a Power Forward. If he does make the switch, I still see him playing some minutes at the Center spot when we run a small ball lineup. He will definitely become the best post option we have on the roster and will help us establish the inside-outside game that we wish to run. Our offense would regain a sense of balance and with some perimeter shooting development; Caleb might even be able to play that stretch 4 spot.

Overall, our front court would get a significant revamp from this season with his signing. With Kravish and Tarwater leaving, our front court rotation could be Okoroh (who is developing at an astounding rate), Rooks, plus Swanigan and potentially Rabb? Any two playing together would balance out our offense, defense, size, and athleticism. We would be able to establish the inside game significantly easier than our current situation. Added to our already talented roster of perimeter players, our team would be a headache for any team to prep for.

Go Bears!