Purdue to honor Valparaiso High graduate Robbie Hummel at Saturday’s game
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 8, 2013 11:20PM
IF YOU GO
Who: Boys and girls in first to eighth grade
When: June 11 to 14
Where: The Fieldhouse-Merrillville
Session 1: Grades 1 to 5, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Session 2: Grades 6 to 8, noon to 2 p.m.
Cost: $100 for either session, $90 before May 1
Details: The Robbie Hummel Basketball Camp will provide individual instruction on shooting, ballhandling, passing, defense and team concepts. Competition (5-on-5) will also be used as a training tool.
For more information: The Fieldhouse-Merrillville, 738-2424 or thefieldhouse-merrillville.com
Updated: March 10, 2013 6:49AM
CROWN POINT — For Robbie Hummel, the fact that his team in Spain’s top league didn’t qualify for the midseason tournament was both a positive and a negative.
Of course, as the ultimate competitor, the former Valparaiso High and Purdue star, and Minnesota Timberwolves draft pick, always wants to win.
But the break in the schedule allowed him to come home for the first time since the fall, the longest he has been away. And the whirlwind trip — he flew from Madrid to London to Chicago on Thursday, and leaves on Sunday from Chicago to Dallas to Madrid — includes Purdue officially honoring him with a banner dedication ceremony at halftime of Saturday night’s game against Michigan State, already a charged matchup.
An array of family members and friends — his parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, buddies from high school and college, coaches from as far back as elementary school — were expected to attend. His familiar No. 4 has hung from the Mackey Arena rafters since before the season started.
“That’s crazy to me,” Hummel said on Friday at The Fieldhouse-Merrillville, where he will be holding a youth basketball camp in June. “That’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. It will be cool to see it. It’s going to be a special day, especially since I’ll have so many of my friends and family there. It’ll be fun to see everybody.”
Hummel was a three-time All-Big Ten first-team selection for the Boilermakers, and two-time Associated Press All-America honorable mention. He graduated from Purdue last year ninth in program history in scoring and tied for fourth in rebounding. He also was the 2012 Lowe’s Senior Class Award winner.
“He’s an All-American, one of the best players to ever play at Purdue,” coach Matt Painter said when asked about Hummel’s banner. “He meant as much to this program as any player. He might not have the same numbers, but his impact on this program was huge. You can never have enough substance on your team, and he’s a guy just oozing with it. He deserves this and more.”
Hummel’s family visited him in Spain for 12 days — spending Christmas and New Year’s, and seeing one of his Blusens Monbus Obradoiro team’s games — but Hummel had been there since October until this weekend. He underwent surgery to repair meniscus damage in his right knee — the same one in which he has twice torn his ACL — on Sept. 18 in New York, and took time in Valparaiso to recover.
“It’s good, no problems,” said Hummel, who also led “Shout” at Ross-Ade Stadium for Purdue’s Sept. 15 football game against Eastern Michigan.
His team’s season began on Sept. 30, and Hummel missed the first six games — “a conservative timetable, with my knee’s history,” he said — debuting on Nov. 10. He has averaged 7.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14 games for Obradoiro, which has a 9-11 record in the 18-team league, last playing on Feb. 3 and not playing again until Feb. 16.
The Timberwolves picked Hummel in the second round, 58th overall, in this past June’s NBA Draft, and they retain his rights for three years, he said. He plans to play on their summer league team — he did so this past summer — and has been in contact with their assistant general manager a handful of times since he has been in Spain.
Overseas, it has been an adjustment for Hummel both on and off the court, including that schedule, with teams typically playing a game once a week (either Saturday or Sunday) and practicing a lot. Few players in the league see more than 30 minutes a game, with Obradoiro’s leader having an average of 29.1. Like college, the games are 40 minutes, but they finish more quickly without television timeouts.
One of his teammates is former Ohio State standout William Buford — “It’s hilarious we play together, we give each other so much crap,” said Hummel, describing him as a “great guy” — and he praised the quality of players and people on the team.
“It’s a different game, the first time being a professional, the players are very good, plus you’re away from home,” Hummel said. “It’s been difficult, but it makes you grow up.”
Hummel has kept in touch via Skype and FaceTime, and has a Slingbox. The team provides an apartment and a car (Toyota Prius). And travel to games primarily has been by airplane and high-speed train (with one unfortunate bus ride), though it has made him appreciate even more some of the amenities at Purdue.
There isn’t a ton to do in Santiago de Compostela — a city of about 100,000 in northwestern Spain, about 40 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with a climate similar to Portland’s, and a seven-hour difference from Central time — after you’ve seen the cathedral, a popular tourist attraction. But the food has been good — “It’s one of the best regions for seafood in the world,” Hummel said — and communication hasn’t been much of a problem.
“I picked it back up pretty well, so the language barrier hasn’t been as much of an issue as I thought it would be,” said Hummel, who took Spanish in middle school and high school.
His team’s 34-game regular season ends on May 19, and Hummel’s camp for boys and girls in first through eighth grade is scheduled to run from June 11 to 14.
“I grew up going to VU’s camps, and had a great time there,” said Hummel, who also had inquired about having the camp at Valparaiso High, but conflicts prevented it. “It’s important for kids to run around and play, not only the competition aspect but also the social aspect. I think sports in general are great for kids. I’ve also enjoyed working the Purdue camps, and I wanted to give back to the community. I was fortunate enough to go to a lot of cool camps, so why not have one for kids here?”