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CHICAGO – To begin the most important three-month stretch of his basketball career, Robbie Hummel felt like the best thing for him to do was – nothing.
The former Purdue forward took time off this spring following the conclusion of his fifth year in West Lafayette, and he believes that break was exactly what he needed to prepare for this month's NBA Draft.
“I took a few weeks off after the season,” Hummel said. “I just thought rest would be more beneficial than getting to work right away.”
Hummel has battled a pair of severe knee injuries and back problems during his career, lots of questions still remain about his ability to remain healthy, particularly with the rigors of playing more than 100 games in an NBA season. The Valparaiso native understands the skeptics, and he says the concerns are already being brought up in interviews with prospective teams.
“It comes up,” Hummel said. “But all of the teams have seen me now. They've seen the way I move. They've seen the way that I play. It's kind of been answered with that.”
Hummel spent the past four days in Chicago being put through the gauntlet of skill tests and interviews at the NBA Draft Combine and expects an array of physical tests leading up to the June 28 NBA Draft.
“I'm sure with the (NBA) medical deal, I'll probably get MRIs, X-rays, any sort of test that can I'm sure will be done.”
Following his self-imposed break, Hummel began to work out with a group of aspiring professional players, including Kentucky guard Marquis Teague, at the St. Vincent Sports Performance facility in Indianapolis, and the results have surprised people.
“I worked out with him the other day,” Purdue senior guard D.J. Byrd said. “He's improved so much in the last month, I was shocked.”
Byrd said Hummel, who said he “feels like a different player,” was more mobile, quicker, more athletic and showed no signs of being a player who had a history of knee problems.
“His knees weren't bothering him,” Byrd said. “How strong and quick (and how precise he was coming off of ball screens, pull-up jumpers (and) NBA threes… for people to say that he can't play in the NBA, I'd have to say that they are wrong.”
Where Hummel lands professionally remains to be seen. He is simply happy to be going through the process and is enjoying every moment of this time of his life.
“(The NBA) has been my dream since I was a 3-year-old kid,” Hummel said. “I've always wanted to play in the NBA. It's pretty cool to be this close. I guess that I am two weeks away from finding out if I can realize that dream.”