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Caleb Swanigan, Indiana high school basketball legend, dies at 25

The former Homestead High School and Purdue star had been out of the NBA for two years.
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Swanigan, who overcame a childhood that included living homeless under a bridge in Utah to become an Indiana basketball legend, has died at age 25.

The Allen County coroner’s office in Indiana confirmed on Tuesday morning that Swanigan died of natural causes. No other details were provided.

Swanigan's life turned around when he moved from Utah to Fort Wayne, Indiana, heading into eighth grade. He weighed over 350 pounds.

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But under the tutelage of family friend and sports agent Roosevelt Barnes, Swanigan — who came to be known as "Biggie" — slimmed down and became one of the best high school basketball players in the country.

Swanigan was named Indiana Mr. Basketball after his senior season at Homestead in 2014-15, when he averaged 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds and led the Spartans to the Class 4A state championship.

He went on to star at Purdue and become a first-round draft pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017.

His teammate in Portland, Damian Lillard, came to Swanigan's defense last year after "Biggie" pleaded guilty to a minor drug charge in Indiana.

Swanigan had not played in the NBA since the 2019–20 season.