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Pacers executive Ryan Carr on the sudden passing of Caleb Swanigan
Carr has worked for the team for decades and leads the scouting department. He brought Swanigan in for pre-draft workouts in 2016 and 2017.
The basketball community in Indiana and across the NBA was in shock after Purdue announced the passing of Caleb Swanigan. He was 25.
Swanigan was born in Indianapolis, attended Fort Wayne Homestead and was Indiana's 2015 Mr. Basketball. He played at Purdue from 2015-17, then was selected 26th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Ryan Carr is the Pacers’ vice president of player personnel. Each year before the draft, he answers questions from local reporters. Before doing so on Tuesday, he had the following to say about Swanigan.
“Just before we talk about the draft, I want to express my condolences on Caleb Swanigan’s passing. He was a gentle kid. One of my favorite stories of going through the draft process was (when) he came in. He was testing the waters after his freshman year and came in for a workout. In those kinds of workouts, they come here for really good feedback. They’re trying to make a decision on whether to go back to school.
“I sat across the table from him and was going over his game and what he could continue to work on. I said, ‘Caleb, I really think that you should go back to school. I think if you improve on this stuff, you could be a first-round draft pick the next year.’ Man, the look he gave me when I said that to him — I was a little bit scared, to be honest with you. He was a gentle soul.
“Obviously here we’re very close to the in-state programs. (Purdue head coach) Matt (Painter) is a really close friend of mine. Just the whole Purdue family and Caleb’s family, Roosevelt Barnes, his mentor. Just a really sad day. I just wanted to make sure I expressed that and was able to convey our condolences. Really sad.”
The Pacers hosted Swanigan for pre-draft workouts in both 2016 and 2017. Here’s my videos from those visits.