“That’s Biggie,” guard P.J. Thompson says. “That’s what he does. He does a lot of extra stuff.”
Swanigan is like a ninja warrior in dark sweatsuit with a dark hood pulled over his face so that the only things visible are his dark eyes. Head phones provide a sound track only he can hear. The former Homestead High School standout occasionally checks his cell phone, adjusts the bike’s resistance level and pedals harder.
This is a NCAA mandated interview session that follows Purdue’s practice for Saturday’s game against Iowa State. The locker room is open and several dozen media members pour in with cameras and tape recorders and more.
Swanigan keeps pedaling. Fifteen minutes remain on his 45-minute session and he’s not about to stop.
Interruption is not welcome.
“I do some type of cardio every day,” he says after he’s finished. “I usually don’t do the bike. It’s usually a Stairmaster or an elliptical machine because I don’t like sitting down a lot, but it’s what we had here and I used it.”
Sixteen hours earlier, the No. 4 seed Boilers (26-7) had wrapped up a Midwest Region opening-round win over Vermont. In 26 hours, they will face fifth-seed Iowa State (24-10) with a shot to advance to the Sweet 16 next week in Kansas City.
Swanigan keeps pedaling as media with cameras and microphones glide around him
Let other college basketball players worry about rest this time of year.
Swanigan has no time for that.
“He’s a whole different breed,” guard Spike Albrecht says. “He’s a machine. There are not too many guys like that in the country.”
Adds Thompson: “You see me and I’m icing. I got old man knees. Biggie is getting his conditioning in. It looks weird because he’s in the middle of the locker room with head phones on, but it’s 100 percent normal.”
“I’m surprised he’s not doing pushups on the side.”
This is how Swanigan reshaped his body from a 400-pound eighth grader to a 250-pound Big Ten MVP. It’s also how he pushed himself to the brink of professional opportunity, and he’s not about to mess that up.
“I’m looking to maintain,” he says. “I want to make certain I stay in shape. It’s a long tournament and I do a lot of sitting around. We’re not working out as much so I try to keep my workouts up.”
Adds coach Matt Painter: “He’s driven. He skipped a year of high school. He was only there for three years. He’s driven to play in the NBA.
“He works at it. He comes early, stays late, puts in the time. To get from where he was, he’s got to stay on top of those things.”
Through it all, Swanigan can appear aloof and somber.
He’s not, Albrecht insists.
“He opens up. He’s got to be in his comfort zone. He’s more outgoing than what you see on the surface.”
Adds Painter: He opens up on his own terms. He’s not going to just pass out that trust. You’re going to have to earn that trust through time.”
For now, that time comes on a bike.
“Right now he’s locked in doing his routine,” Albrecht says. “He doesn’t like to be bothered when he’s doing that.”
UP NEXT: Purdue (26-7) vs. Iowa State (24-10) Midwest Regional, Milwaukee
TIPOFF: 9:45 p.m., Saturday
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