The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

October 10, 2013

Hummel hasn't given up, despite obstacles

Maybe if Robbie Hummel had never traveled to Minnesota on Feb. 24, 2010, to play a game against the Gophers, things would have been different.

Maybe he wouldn't have torn the ligament in his knee that night, derailing a promising season for his team and dooming his opportunity to jump to the NBA. Maybe he wouldn't have returned to Purdue and torn the same ligament in the following preseason, forcing him to stay in college for his fifth season.

Maybe he wouldn't have lasted until the second round of last season's draft, where the Timberwolves selected him. Maybe he wouldn't have been released after the preseason and spent the season playing in Spain.

But all of that stuff happened, and he's still trying to find a home in the NBA.

"It's hard not to think about it," Hummel said, following a practice last week at Bresnan Arena. "But you can't go back and change it."

Hummel is one of three players competing for the 15th and final spot on the Timberwolves roster. He's known as a perimeter shooter, which might give him an advantage with shooter Chase Budinger sidelined a month or more with a knee injury.

"I never wish an injury on someone else, especially with what I've been through," Hummel said. "But when someone goes down, there's an opportunity for everybody."

At the end of one practice last week, Hummel made 78 of 100 shots from various spots behind the arc. But the Timberwolves know he can shoot it. It's the other stuff that they need to see, like defense and rebounding.

"He's had a really good camp," Wolves general manager Flip Saunders said. "He's been very aggressive, and he's making shots. His problem has always been the ability to stay healthy, and he's done that so far."

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