Paul M. Banks goes one-on-one with one of the Big Ten’s most valuable players
Purdue’s Robbie Hummel was a finalist for the Oscar Robertson and John Wooden awards during his freshman season- the first Boilermaker since Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson. Last season Hummel was an All-Big Ten first team selection last season, leading the conference in 3-pt field goal %. This year, the conference’s preseason player of the year is among the Big Ten leaders in rebounding, scoring, 3-pt field goal % and FT % despite having to battle nagging, persistent back injuries. Most importantly, the Boilers are 11-2 in conference play when Hummel plays, 0-3 when he is absent.
PMB: You’ve been designated as a point forward. Tell me about the match-up issues your opponents have given the height advantage you have over most point guards…
RH: “When I was little I always played guard. I wasn’t very big, but then I grew a lot between my 8th grade and freshman year so with that I kind of kept my guard skills and tried to add some big man skills, but I’m kind of used to playing the point.”
PMB: And does it help your court vision, and therefore becoming a floor general, does it augment your decision making?
RH: “I think so because I’m taller. When I bring the ball up I think it’s a huge advantage to how I can see the floor.”
PMB: We’ve seen a lot of bigger than usual point guards, Deron Williams from Illinois is an example, succeed in the league lately. You model your game on any of these NBA stars?
RH: “I don’t have a role model in the NBA. I grew up a Bulls fan so obviously Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are the guys. I don’t model my game after them, but I just love to watch those guys play. Chris Paul is very special, Deron Williams like you said from Illinois, is obviously very special, there’s a lot and it’s hard to name them all.”
PMB: What aspect of your game do you most want to improve upon?
RH: “I’d like to become better with my back to the basket, earlier in the year when we played Illinois I had Chester Frazier guarding me and I didn’t capitalize on that.”
PMB: Yes you had quite a big height difference there, but what makes Chester Frazier such a great individual defender?
RH: “He’s hard nose. He’s tough, he really gets low when he defends so he’s obviously a special guy and great player.