Hummel happy to return to Minnesota
If Robbie Hummel is looking for a comfortable setting to continue his comeback from two major knee injuries, it would be hard for him to pick a better place than Minnesota.
The Timberwolves selected the Purdue forward with the 58th pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, confident that he is fully recovered from two torn ligaments in his right knee.
Hummel said he has been coming to Minnesota with his family for years. His great-grandfather built a cabin on Pelican Lake near Brainerd that was a family destination, his grandparents are from Blue Earth, and a great-uncle is the principal at a metro area high school.
''I've been coming up to Minneapolis since I was born,'' the Indiana native said in a conference call Friday.
Hummel averaged 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as a fifth-year senior for the Boilermakers last year, very solid numbers considering he said he still wasn't at 100 percent by the end of the season after tearing up the same knee in back-to-back seasons and missing all of 2010-11. He worked out for the Timberwolves and representatives from every other team at Target Center earlier this summer, then had a good showing at the combine in Chicago.
''I'm really close. If I'm not 100 percent I'm at 95, not all the way back yet but they say it takes 20 months and that's where I'm at at this point,'' Hummel said. ''I feel really good and I think this is the best I've felt and the best I've played in a long time.''
When draft night arrived, Hummel waited, and waited and waited. He was preparing to field offers to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent when the Timberwolves called his name two picks before the draft ended.
''At that point you kind of are preparing yourself for the worst, and that's to go undrafted, even if it might to be better off for you not to be drafted,'' Hummel said. ''But I think the Minnesota situation is great. I think there is a lot of opportunity there and I'm looking forward to making the team.''
The Timberwolves loved Hummel's shooting skills and size, and figured it was a minimal risk to take a player with his injury history considering he was once projected to be a lottery pick. The Wolves sorely need competent outside shooters after players like Wes Johnson, Martell Webster and Michael Beasley struggled with injuries and inconsistency last year.
''He can really shoot it,'' Timberwolves president David Kahn said. ''But he has some game, too. He's not a flashy passer, but he's steady. But he's got a beautiful shot with a quick release. In our league, if you can make shots on a consistent basis and you have a little bit of size to you ... they have a chance to make the league.''
Hummel will participate on the Wolves' summer league team in Las Vegas, and he even offered to tutor star point guard Ricky Rubio, who tore the ACL in his left knee in March, on how to recover from the injury.
''Yeah,'' Hummel said with a chuckle. ''I've been through it twice, so I think I can give him some advice on that. It was unfortunate to watch him go down, but it's something you can come back from for sure.''
Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APkrawczynski