There's a player in the 2012 draft pool that was a preseason Wooden Award finalist as far back as last decade, yet this player might not even get drafted. That player is Robbie Hummel, whose 5 seasons, repeat ACL injuries, and epic journey through the NCAA has been a true testament to the player's love of the game and dogged dedication to constantly improve his game.
In today's modern NBA, where just about every team has at least one "stretch" 4, the answer to that question is a "maybe". It's no secret to anyone who's familiar with college basketball that Hummel has long since established himself as one of the best shooters among the amateur ranks. Robbie's jumper is a gym rat's dream; technically sound, with perfect balance, squared-up feet, and a fluid release in which he wastes no extra motion. If he were entering the draft in the 60's, the 6'8'' forward might be the top overall pick. But the aforementioned injuries have taken a major toll on his elevation and athleticism, and if he's going to get drafted Hummel will have to hope that the other tricks he's learned along the way will be enough for a team to look past his athletic shortcomings.
To his credit, Robbie Hummel seems to be no doubt aware of this, and has added a lot of muscle to his frame ever since his knee started to go. Once just a skinny spot-up shooter, Hummel evolved into more of a true power forward this season without losing his ability to score from any spot on the floor. His added strength made him a lot more effective in the mid-range game, where other 4's were unable to leverage him off his spots. Perhaps due to this, he no longer needed to have his feet set; whether coming off screens with just a shred of daylight, or off the dribble for pull-ups, Hummel hit a surprising number of off-balance shots throughout the season, and even developed a consistent leaner in the lane from about 12 feet in. Another added wrinkle to his game was the newfound ability to back defenders down and hit the fadeaway, turn-around jumper. Unfortunately for Robbie, his plus ballhandling skills have been somewhat negated by having lost a step, since he's no longer quick enough to blow by opposing big men and really attack the rim. That said, he still utilizes fakes to create space like a seasoned veteran, and sees the floor well enough to be an above-average playmaker at the position.
Ironically, it's players in the mold of the "old" Robbie Hummel that would perhaps cause him the most trouble at the next level. If he's forced to hustle outside to challenge a would-be jumpshooter, few players would have to do much more than offer a slight head fake to burn him baseline, since Hummel no longer has the ability to change direction with much quickness. A tough, smart, unselfish player, Hummel gets his fair share of rebounds and creates rebounding opportunities for teammates by having a good sense of shot angles and boxing out like an old school forward. But even at a bulked-up 215, it's unlikely this same recipe for success would prove reliable against the bigger, more vertical players he'd face in the NBA. At the very least, Hummel will never be caught napping on defense, since his basketball IQ and familiarity with how perimeter players like to create shots give him good anticipation and awareness on that end.
No matter what happens on draft day, it's likely that Robbie will continue to play ball for as long as his right knee allows him to. His approach to the game has already earned him the respect and admiration of basketball fans across the country. Perhaps, in deciding between Hummel and a "euro" style stretch 4 from overseas, an NBA GM will value Hummel's battle-tested college experience and pick him in the bottom half of the 2nd round, allowing his story to continue stateside.
Rank 80th Overall (23rd PF)
Weaknesses Injury history