It’s not because he’s a ball hog. He just wants to help his team win.
“I like when coach relies on me, even though the last few games I’ve gotten in some foul trouble. It’s hard to watch them go out there without me,” Swanson said. “It makes me do the best I can to make sure they have the best chance to win. Last year I barely played, so to go from that to this is a big change. Coach (Kyle) Penney and I are a lot alike. I’m as competitive as can be and hate losing, so I like being in control of the team and get them a win.”
Swanson didn’t have much varsity experience coming into his final season with the Cougars. But his skills have certainly helped the Purple and White this season.
Swanson is averaging 10 points, six rebounds and three steals per outing. He’s second on the team in scoring, but first in rebounds, assists and steals.
While he’s a valuable asset on offense due to his size and ability to bring the ball up the court as well as play in the post, it’s his length on defense that sets him apart. He leads the team with 59 deflections, while the next closest teammate has less than half that.
Swanson does have a tendency to turn the ball over some, but sometimes Penney overlooks that because he knows Swanson understands what Penney wants in his players.
“He’s a smart basketball player in the sense that he knows our system,” Penney said. “He doesn’t always express it with his actions on the court, but he knows our system inside and out. He knows guard responsibilities and post responsibilities. He knows what we’re looking for.
“He turns the ball over a lot which is a downfall, but he brings so much to us in all other categories, that we’ve got to have him on the court. He’s one guy who really helps their team, and when he executes the system, he makes everyone better.”
Because Swanson knows the system so well, it makes him a good captain with Tyler Givani. Penney said both players never missed anything. They’ve been at every open gym since freshman year and fully committed to the program.
Swanson isn’t a vocal leader but he doesn’t need to be because the other players see how much Penney trusts him, and in turn, they trust him as well.
“I need him to be an example leader. It’s just his presence out there,” Penney said. “The kids who have been around awhile know he knows the system. They know he knows what he’s doing, but I think they rely on him a little too much at times.”
Swanson began playing organized basketball with the Ballers back when he was in fifth or sixth grade and played with several of his current teammates, who have grown into his best friends. He hopes his career doesn’t end after this season though. He’s looking into playing for some Division II schools, but doesn’t know if that will come about.
His personal goal this year is to be someone his teammates can always rely on. He’s also focused on helping the Cougars reach the postseason after three straight losses to end last season kept Spanish Springs out of the playoffs.