Purdue’s Swanigan heads toward NBA draft

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Purdue freshman big Caleb Swanigan is declaring for the NBA draft, but will not initially hire an agent, the school announced Tuesday.

New NCAA rules will allow him to work out for teams and attend May’s combine before making a decision on whether or not to return to school ahead of the May 25th deadline.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Fort Wayne, Ind. put up solid numbers during his first season in West Lafayette, averaging 10.2 points and 8.3 rebounds along with 1.8 assists in 25.7 minutes of action per night. He shot 46.1 percent from the floor and 29.1 percent on 72 3-point attempts.

Swanigan is likely a fringe first-round candidate at best this season given a freshman season that wasn’t lights out. His block rate was a meager 0.9 percent, and he wasn’t able to stretch the floor with his shooting, which makes him a less-than-appealing draft prospect given his size.

Still, he won’t turn 19 years old for another month, and he was impressive enough during high school and his few months on campus that NBA surely will be interested in taking a look.

For Purdue, the loss of Swanigan would hit hard as he’s so well positioned to slide right in and replace the graduating AJ Hammons next season inside as they look to move on fro this year’s first-round NCAA tournament exit. Right now, Purdue hasn’t signed a big man in the 2016 recruiting class.