FILE - This Feb. 29, 2012 file photo shows Purdue forward Robbie Hummel in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Penn State, in West Lafayette, Ind. He finished a career that included two ACL tears and a back injury by putting in a memorable 26-point performance in a loss to Kansas in the round of 32. He still finished on Purdue's all-time top 10 lists in several categories. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Updated: May 14, 2012 8:21AM
A day has not passed that Robbie Hummel has not thought about Purdue’s NCAA Tournament loss to eventual national runner-up Kansas — even if he has yet to actually watch the game back.
“It’s still too soon for that,” the Valparaiso High graduate said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever let that one go. I’ll be somewhere, and I’ll start thinking about that last shot (his 3-pointer in the waning seconds that would have given the Boilermakers the lead) — I think about that shot every day. I should’ve put more legs into it, but I was exhausted. It just didn’t go in.”
Hummel is a winner, loathes losing. He cares deeply, has a burning passion for the game. And it’s that type of attitude and character that should aid him with what lies ahead.
And perhaps that upcoming whirlwind will help ease the process of transitioning — if never forgetting the details, both glorious and heartbreaking, of his illustrious Boilermakers career, including that last stellar game against the Jayhawks — to the next stage.
On Monday, Hummel began what was expected to be a daily commute until school ends from campus to Indianapolis, where he will train at St. Vincent Sports Performance. Then, he’ll stay in an apartment in Chicago and work out in the city through May and into June — he also figures to have numerous individual workouts for teams during that time frame — until the NBA Draft on June 28 in Newark, N.J.
By that point, Hummel will have his degree in management, with a concentration in marketing, and minors in communications and organizational leadership and supervision (OLS). He will walk in graduation ceremonies on May 12.
Most mock drafts project Hummel as a second-round pick, or undrafted.
But after he has battled back from the two torn ACLs in his right knee, not to mention the stress fracture in his back, it would be unwise to underestimate Hummel, whose resume includes three All-Big Ten first-team and two Associated Press All-American honorable mention selections, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and three Academic All-Big Ten honors.
And his game against Kansas — including an electrifying 22-point first half as part of a 26-point, nine-rebound performance — certainly left a lasting impression. It capped his particularly memorable final month-and-a-half in a Purdue uniform, leaving as part of two Sweet 16 teams, the 2009 Big Ten Tournament champion, the 2010 conference tri-champ, 96 wins (tied for fifth in program history), and 104 wins with the Class of 2012 (second behind the 11 duo of E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson).
“A lot can happen, but things look good,” said Hummel, also the ninth-leading scorer in Purdue history and tied for fourth in rebounds. “The Kansas game was good for me. I shot the ball well. It was a big game on a national stage.
“There were times in the season that were frustrating, when I couldn’t play at a high level. I didn’t have the pop in my legs, and that was hard to deal with — it’s no fun to play like that. But I was playing my best basketball at the end of the season.”
And Hummel should continue to make progress as he draws closer and closer to the two-year mark following his second surgery.
“People tell me in six months, you won’t even recognize yourself,” he said. “I feel good now, so it’s hard to believe. It just takes a long time.”
Obviously, Hummel knows teams will have varying degrees of concern about his health — from red flag to green light — and if he can withstand the rigors and grind of a full season. But he hopes to answer any questions in sessions with teams, as well as with an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine.
“My physicals will be a little different than other guys,” Hummel said. “They’ll be doing some extra poking and prodding at my knee, studying my MRIs and X-rays. But there’s no reason to think that won’t go well. My knee is structurally sound.”
Hummel last week hired prominent Chicago-based agent Mark Bartelstein, who also represents several former Purdue players such as East Chicago Central grad Moore, Carl Landry, Brian Cardinal and Brad Miller, as well as Bryce Drew.
“The goal is to get drafted,” Hummel said. “If not, we’ll look at options like free agency and Europe, especially with Mark’s connections. But right now, we’re focused on making an NBA team.”