June 28, 2012: The day I said the Timberwolves drafted a future All-Star despite their only pick in the draft being 58th overall (the third to last pick). February 24, 2010: The day Robbie Hummel’s basketball career changed forever.
Let’s rewind even further to Hummel’s freshman year. Hummel broke Purdue’s freshman three-point field goal percentage record by shooting 44.7 percent, which also resulted in him being the top three-point shooter in the Big Ten during his freshman year. He also had the highest free-throw percentage in Boilermaker history by shooting 86.5 percent from the line, breaking a 33 year-old mark. Hummel ended the season by being named First Team All-Big Ten and a top-10 finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
What’s a Sophomore Slump?
Hummel was named the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year his sophomore year and he had a strong upside with a lot of potential. He opened the season by scoring in double figures in the Boilermakers’ first 10 games and 20+ points in four of those outings. Hummel even won consecutive Big Ten Player of the Week awards in the month of December. As the season wore on, Hummel started having back spasms and broke his vertebra. This caused him to miss the five games and he was required to wear a back brace for all games and practices during the rest of the season. Hummel managed to lead the Boilermakers to their first ever Big Ten Tournament championship and he was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
A Roller Coaster of Events
Robbie Hummel’s junior season could be considered both his best and worst as a Boilermaker. He had the highest offensive rating in the Big Ten Conference, the second-highest defensive rating in the conference and the second-highest player efficiency rating in the conference. During the same season, Hummel broke a school record by making 36 consecutive free throws (he led the Big Ten in free throw percentage, shooting 90 percent from the line).
Let’s head back to a date I mentioned earlier: February 24, 2010. I was at Williams Arena in Minneapolis watching Purdue take on the Gophers. I was sitting three rows up from the court in the student section and the tunnel that opposing teams used was merely feet away from where I was sitting. I remember Hummel driving to the lane and his knee just gave out. Everyone in the arena was shocked because just minutes earlier this guy was killing the Gophers. He had played 12 minutes and scored 11 points while hitting 3 of 4 from downtown. The students around me were also in disbelief, mostly because this guy seemed invincible just moments earlier and now he was being helped down the stairs into the locker room. Robbie Hummel had torn his ACL.
Fast forward eight months to October 16 — Robbie Hummel tore the same ACL. He was forced to sit out the entire season.
Hummel came back and had a strong finish to his career as a Boilermaker. He won the Senior CLASS Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in 10 NCAA Division 1 sports, and the Thomas A. Brady Comeback Award.
Robbie Hummel had all the makings of a first-round draft pick but he ended up being a late second-round pick. Not only did the Timberwolves get a great shooter, they got a great rebounder (he is one of ten players in Purdue history to grab at least 700 rebounds), a great defender, and a man who is determined to be the best player he can be. Tearing the same ACL twice in eight months would be devastating. I couldn’t play basketball for six months because of a knee injury last year and it was one of the worst six months of my life. I can’t even begin to imagine what Robbie Hummel went through having to watch his team play in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments without being able to help.
Like the majority of you, I am not a David Kahn fan, but I think he drafted a hidden gem in Robbie Hummel. The Wolves need a shooter who can defend the wing and I believe Hummel can develop into that guy within the next couple of years. Hummel has already proven that he can overcome adversity and I believe he has the drive to keep improving his game and make it in the NBA. Until then, I have my fingers crossed that what I said on June 28, 2012 becomes a reality.