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Caleb Swanigan stood tall against the Utah Jazz backdrop, on the verge of doing the one thing he's dreamed of since his days as a kid growing up in Salt Lake City: Making the NBA.

Biggie — his nickname — used to hone his post moves at the Sorensen Center. His immediate family still resides in the area. He grew up a Denver Nuggets fan — because of Carmelo Anthony — and yet his workout Saturday with the Jazz was something he has long looked forward to.

The interest between organization and player is mutual. Swanigan likes the Jazz, seeing himself as a power forward who can score on the block next to Rudy Gobert and hit threes on the perimeter with efficiency. The Jazz like Swanigan because he was one of the best rebounders in the country at Purdue, and they think that skill will translate to the NBA.

"It definitely feels great to be home," Swanigan said. "It's unbelievable to be from the city and coming back to hopefully be on the pro team, and having a chance to blossom."

The NBA draft is now less than two weeks away, and Swanigan's path to the league is drawing closer. But that path doesn't come without questions. Scouts wonder if he can hold his own defensively on the perimeter. At 6-foot-9 and 246 pounds, he hasn't always been the fleetest of foot.

If he can, he becomes an intriguing prospect at power forward. Offensively, Swanigan is powerful in the paint, yet elegant. He's strong, yet nimble and crafty. He has post moves and countermoves. He'll certainly be able to score and get to the free-throw line, and his jumpsuit adds variety to his game.

But if Swanigan can't defend the swift power forwards that are featured in today's NBA, he becomes something of a tweener: Too slow to play the four spot, and yet too undersized to play at center.

That's why his NBA stock is as volatile as any prospect in this draft. In his sophomore season at Purdue, Swanigan averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and three assists per game. He shot 44 percent from 3-point range. He was the Big Ten's Player of the Year and he was a first team All-American.

The numbers, the accolades, they all scream lottery pick. But the questions about his defense have left Swanigan as a guy who has had to prove himself all over again for the pro scouts. He's certainly someone who can be drafted in the first round. But he's also someone who can slide on draft night.

"I've guarded fours on the perimeter a lot, so I'm confident there," Swanigan said. "Against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament, I guarded a lot on the perimeter. Power forwards aren't going to break you down. It's more being aware off the ball."

Here's what the Jazz know: Swanigan is a hard worker, one who is aware of his flaws and wants to get better.

He has lost almost 100 pounds since his high school days. His slimmed-down physique has afforded him more mobility. It has given him more lift and explosion off the ground. It has allowed him to play more minutes at a high level.

Even with the weight, Swanigan was one of the best high school players in the country, a McDonald's All-American and consensus top 20 recruit. Now that he's in better shape, he's a better player.

"When he got into town yesterday, he came to the gym for a workout," Jazz VP of Player Personnel Walt Perrin said. "He's someone who works extremely hard."

Swanigan was just one of several high-level prospects who worked out for the Jazz Saturday. Evans, a point guard from Oklahoma State, Colorado's Derrick White and Mathias Lessort from France are all players the Jazz could draft with one of their two first round picks.

Utah will continue workouts Sunday, with first round prospect TJ Leaf expected to be in attendance. Leaf is a versatile and athletic power forward from UCLA.

Twitter: @tribjazz —

Caleb Swanigan

• Is a Salt Lake City native

• Lived in Utah until he was 12 years old

• Was a first team All-American this past season at Purdue

Saturday's workout participants

Derrick White, 6-foot-5 point guard, Colorado

Juwan Evans, 6-foot-1 point guard, Oklahoma State

Andrew White, 6-foot-7 small forward, Syracuse

Jordan Mathews, 6-foot-4 small forward, Gonzaga

Caleb Swanigan, 6-foot-9 power forward, Purdue

Mathias Lessort, 6-foot-9 power forward, France