Hummel hopes to add to Indiana’s draft legacy

Robbie Hummel rattles off the names of recent draft picks from

Indiana without a hint of hesitation.

Eric Gordon, Gordon Hayward, Greg Oden, Mike Conley and even two

of his former college teammates, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun

Moore.

Now it might be Hummel’s turn to join the growing list.

After enduring two season-ending ACL tears in his right knee and

staying one extra season at Purdue to prove he could still play at

a high level, Hummel is now trying to show NBA scouts he’s healthy

enough to excel as a pro.

”I played an entire season and this is basically another

season,” he said after Friday’s latest draft workout, with the

Pacers. ”I don’t see why I’m any more risky than anyone else other

than the fact that I did it twice.

”They say it takes 20 months till you’re back to normal and I’m

probably at 17 or 18 months.”

Whether that will be enough to convince an NBA team to take the

6-foot-8 forward in next week’s draft is still unclear.

But Hummel certainly has a resume worth considering.

He finished his college career ranked No. 9 on Purdue’s career

scoring list (1,772 points), fourth all-time in rebounds (862) and

3-pointers (216) and seventh in career blocks (112).

And, of course, he does have that all-important Indiana

pedigree.

Last year, three players with Hoosier State ties were taken

among the NBA’s 60 picks – Johnson and Moore from Purdue and

Shelvin Mack of Butler.

Three other players with Indiana connections – Hayward, Notre

Dame’s Luke Harangody and Xavier’s Jordan Crawford, who started his

college career with the Hoosiers – were drafted two years ago.

It’s a continual trend.

Over the last five years, 5.3 percent of all draftees, or 16 in

all, played either high school or college basketball in Indiana.

Ten of those were first-round draft picks and the Hoosier State’s

five-year streak with at least one first-round pick seems almost

certain to be extended. North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller, Indiana’s

2008 Mr. Basketball, is expected to be taken in the top 15 picks

this year and former Indiana All-Star Marquis Teague of Kentucky

could go in the first round, too.

Who else might go? Possibly Hummel and maybe even former Indiana

prep star Alex Young, who is trying to become the second IUPUI

player to make the NBA or Miami (Ohio) forward Julian Mavunga, a

high school teammate of Hayward.

All of them have worked out in front of the Pacers brass.

”It’s good competition here,” Young said during his workout in

Indy last week. ”I’ve played against those guys in the league and

now I’m trying to join them. The tradition in Indiana is

rich.”

But the explanation goes far deeper.

Mavunga is so passionate about basketball that he said he would

play another five years if that’s what it took to earn a roster

spot.

Others credit the coaching around the state.

Indiana has produced three of college basketball’s biggest names

– Gene Keady, Bob Knight and John Wooden. The new generation of

coaches looks bright, too. Hummel was part of a recruiting class

that helped Matt Painter restore the luster at Purdue, Tom Crean

has turned around Indiana, Mike Brey just got a new 10-year

contract at Notre Dame and Butler’s Brad Stevens remains one of the

hottest coaching prospects in the nation after getting the Bulldogs

to national title games in 2010 and 2011.

Hall of Famer Larry Bird even led the Pacers to the NBA Finals

in 2000.

But it always comes down to talent, and Indiana has a rich

history that includes Bird and Oscar Robertson.

And now Hummel is trying to become the fifth draftee from the

2007 Indiana All-Star team.

”I think this state just has a love for basketball and the

level of basketball played here is very high,” Hummel said. ”I

didn’t know that stat, but I believe it. You look at the guys who

come out of this state – Gordon, Hayward, Oden, Conley – it’s a

lot.”