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
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
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
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
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
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