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Purdue University

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Former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel bounced back from two ACL injuries to average 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as a senior.

Hummel improves prospects

– Matt Painter likened the NBA draft to awaiting word for the NCAA tournament.

“No matter who you are, if you’re on the fence, it’s very similar to the NCAA team that’s on the fence. You have to be careful what you say because you don’t control your own destiny,” Purdue’s men’s basketball coach said during a teleconference Monday.

“You go and work out, you go and test and do the best you can, but still somebody has to draft you.”

Painter’s top player from last season, Robbie Hummel, is one of the draft hopefuls. Duke’s Miles Plumlee, who is from Warsaw, is another. The NBA draft is tonight.

“If you asked (Hummel) a couple of months ago how he’d like it to play out, this is exactly how he’d like it to turn out,” Painter said.

“From a physical standpoint to the workouts, he’s really performed at a high level and has done a good job.”

North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller and Kentucky’s Marquis Teague are two players with state ties expected to go in the first round.

Painter said the feedback he’s received has Hummel going “somewhere in the second round.”

“But with that being said, there’s no guarantees. And there’s no guarantees that’s the best thing for him, either,” Painter said.

“There are some guys out there, (Kendallville’s) Brad Miller is a great example, where he didn’t get drafted and he was able to pick the right organization to start with. And then really springboard to an unbelievable career for him. You never know.”

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Hummel bounced back from two ACL injuries to average 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as a senior.

“He showed at the end of the year that he was improving,” Painter said. “He was getting better, and he was more comfortable. He made another step here with his workouts. He looks a lot better.”

Painter said Hummel’s track record as a winner is a huge benefit.

“His team always wins. He’s a skill guy. He understands the game. He defers to others, makes the extra pass. He’s going to be glued in on the scouting report. He’ll do whatever an organization needs for him to help them be successful like he’s done at every level,” Painter said.

“He has too many intangibles. If I was drafting, I think he has a place on every team. Guys like that always have a place on a team. Whether he starts or is in the rotation or rarely plays, he’s going to be good for the organization.”

Painter is excited to see what’s ahead for Hummel.

“Guys are taking him for his skill level and his basketball IQ and his versatility. I think guys like that stay in that league for a long time,” Painter said. “No matter what happens (tonight), he’s going to continue to make a stab at it. He’s going to continue to put himself in a position to be successful and play at that level.”

lpope@jg.net

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