At one point in time former Boilermaker Robbie Hummel looked like an inevitable first rounder and everyone assumed he'd end up playing in the NBA. Of course all of that came crashing down in the winter of 2010 when Hummel suffered a crushing ACL tear that derailed Purdue's season and put the forward on a rushed timeline in attempt to return for the 2010-11 season. The short turnaround for Hummel was likely a major contributing factor when he retore the same ACL at practice in October, putting his future career in doubt.
Hummel would eventually return for the 2011-12 season and the effects of two ACL injuries became increasingly apparent. While Hummel was an AP All-American honorable mention and helped Purdue win 22 games, his shooting had noticeably declined and, while still one of the better players in the Big Ten, his performance just wasn't the same.
His senior season was still good enough to get him drafted, though, as the Timberwolves took him near the end of the night with the 58th pick. As a developmental pick, Hummel ended up heading overseas to play in Spain. The injury bug bit once again and Hummel returned to the states soon after due to an injury to his right meniscus. While Hummel struggled to remain healthy he participated in the Summer League for Minnesota and eventually earned a deal.
Widely unused for a good portion of the season, Hummel eventually picked up more playing time down the stretch thanks to injuries. He didn't set the world on fire but he was a passable wing that could shoot from deep and pick up some rebounds. While not likely starter material, Hummel was a solid option off the bench and could eat up some minutes when needed. The Timberwolves apparently agreed as they handed out a fully guaranteed one year contract worth around $900,000.
"I'm excited about signing and getting some job security. I'm very relieved," mentioned Hummel. The job security must be welcome for Robbie as he's seen three of his last five seasons impacted by major injuries and durability concerns. It also didn't help that Minnesota didn't retain Hummel earlier in the summer, putting him on the free agency market. But now with a fully guaranteed deal in place Hummel can worry less about his job security and start to work on improving his game. With a modest amount of potential and only a one year contract in hand, Hummel will have to continue developing and improving his game if he wants to continue his career past this season.
Hummel's NBA career hasn't been anything fancy but it's hard not to root for the guy when you take into consideration everything he's had to deal with. He might not be the same player he used to be, but there's still enough talent there that Hummel could blossom into a productive backup this year if he continues to make strides. Either way, it's another former Big Ten player living their dream in the NBA. Hopefully the ride gets a bit smoother from here on out for Robbie.