Feb. 5, 2008
`Six Shot Rob'
By David Brienza, Purdue sports information student assistant
In a post-game press conference this season Purdue coach Matt Painter said the Boilermakers sometimes jokingly call freshman forward Robbie Hummel `Six Shot Rob'.
Why give Hummel a nickname that sounds suited for a wild-west sharpshooter? Because the highly touted freshman, who averaged 15.1 points per-game as a senior in high school and has shown the ability to score at the college level, doesn't shoot as often as his coach would like. Through fourteen games this season, Hummel is the Boilermakers third-leading scorer, but Painter would like to see the Hummel look for his own shot more.
"He needs to be more aggressive with his shot, more aggressive with his pull-up and looking for his three," Painter said. "He needs to look for his drive more, he needs to look at the basket and just be aggressive. He just doesn't have a selfish bone in his body, he's got skills and he needs to utilize them."
Those comments were echoed by Hummel's high school coach Bob Punter.
"One thing that always bothered his coach was he was always so unselfish. He was always looking to give someone else a perfect pass and not always looking for his own shot," chuckled Punter.
"Rob has always had the ability to score he just looks to get others involved. I know he can score because there's one game that stands out when I think of Robbie. We were playing our rivals Chesterton and Rob had 31 points in the first half. When he decided to shoot, he could really pour it in. That game against Chesterton, he was on fire in the first half and it didn't seem like he could miss."
All joking aside, Hummel who came in as part of Painter's most heralded recruiting class has fit in nicely, starting all of the Boilermakers first 14 games.
When making the decision to come play at Purdue Hummel said it really came down to the coaching staff.
"I felt really comfortable with coach Painter and I really liked the rest of the staff," Hummel said. "I could see my senior year that with Landry and Teague things were really starting to fall into place."
Hummel has been a key addition for a Purdue team looking to make consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1998-99 and 1999-00 season and it appears that things are falling into place for this young Boilermaker team.
Getting back to the Big Dance is the Boilermakers' goal this season and Hummel feels that the Boilermakers have an excellent opportunity to do so.
"Our goal from day one has been to make it to the NCAA Tournament," Hummel said. "We're working hard every day and right now that is still a very good possibility."
With Hummel filling up the stat sheet, Boilermaker fans may want to plan some vacation time in March as Purdue has gone 10-4 in their first 14 games with wins over No.20 Louisville and Michigan in the Boilermakers Big Ten opener.
Hummel has scored in double-figures eight times this season, and led the Boilermakers in scoring twice with 15 points against Louisville and 19 against Iowa State but he has proven he's an all-around talent.
In the Boilermakers' Big Ten opener at Mackey Arena on January 5, Hummel posted 13 points and seven rebounds as Purdue beat Michigan 65-58 to open up conference play 1-0 for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Through fourteen games this season Hummel has led the Boilermakers in rebounding (6.3 rpg), assists (2.63 apg), field goal percentage (50.6 percent) and free throw percentage (84.3 percent).
In addition, Hummel is third in scoring (10.1 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (39.1 percent), blocked shots (8) and steals (20).
At 6-foot-8 and with the ability to contribute in a number of ways Painter said Hummel's versatility is a nice thing to have.
"He's just a good all-around basketball player. He can pass the basketball with his size, he can break you down off the dribble with size. He can guard bigs, he can guard guards. He just gives you that versatility and he's a fun guy to coach," Painter said.
If you ask Hummel what aspect of his game he would like to improve on this season, he'll tell you it's the one thing all of his coaches have talked to him about.
"I want to improve on my offense and become more of a scoring threat. I just want to get more aggressive on the offensive end," Hummel said.
Until then he might still be called `Six Shot Rob'.