If a trip to the Sweet 16 didn’t make for a good enough weekend, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan got more good news Sunday.
The Naismith Trophy finalists were announced Sunday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, and Swanigan, along with three others, is a finalist for the trophy marking college basketball’s most outstanding player.
Swanigan’s fellow finalists are UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Villanova’s Josh Hart and Kansas’ Frank Mason III.
Swanigan earned the Big Ten Player of the Year and has paced the Boilermakers in the NCAA Tournament with his play in the front court. The sophomore forward scored 20 points and grabbed 12 boards as Purdue held on to beat No. 5-seeded Iowa State 80-76 in the second round of the Big Dance.
Swanigan, who went to high school in Fort Wayne, Ind., set the Big Ten single-season record for double-doubles with 26 and currently has 28 on the season. Swanigan can break David Robinson’s all-time single-season double-double record of 31 but Purdue would need to reach the NCAA championship game.
Although Swanigan represents the Big Ten, he does so at the expense of Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, who was a semifinalist for the award less than a month ago.
Happ, who helped the Badgers upset No. 1 seed Villanova in a thriller on Saturday, averaged 13.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in his sophomore season. He scored 12 points in the Badgers’ 65-62 win over the Wildcats.
The winner of the Naismith Award will be announced April 2, prior to the NCAA championship game on April 3.