4 Days To Purdue Basketball: Robbie Hummel

I will now hold for five minutes of applause as we all welcome Rob back to the court...

...still holding...

... and I think we're good. It has been a long, long, LONG wait since February 24, 2010. In a way, that date may live in infamy longer than The Fumble. As damaging as The Fumble was, I don't think anyone really expected us to breeze through Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Ohio State, and Indiana unscathed to play for the National Championship, but man, is it fun to dream.

That Game, as I now refer to it, was much more costly even though wwon. Chris Kramer put the team on his back and Keaton Grant hit some huge shots to assure we would still win a Big Ten title, but we will always wonder What If. If Rob doesn't go down, with the way we were playing at that specific moment, we were unstoppable. We breeze through Michigan State in a game where both teams looked awful in Mackey Arena. We blast Indiana and Penn State away to take the Big Ten title by ourselves. In Indianapolis who knows what happens, but with a number one seed assured it doesn't matter. I know we have an attitude of, "We'll be back in three weeks when it really matters." As for the tournament, we likely take Syracuse's No. 1 seed, and it is either Butler still making their miracle run or us ending it. Then, with a pro-Purdue crowd in Indianapolis, we knock off Michigan State again and face Duke for everything. Our three heroes topple them, then all agree to come back and repeat in 2011 as an undefeated champion, just to take away IU's honor of being the last unbeaten champ.

What If...

Sadly, I know there is an alternate universe where this happened, and I lament that I don't live there. Anyway, back to Rob. That intro was about as long as he has been gone, and it is a damn shame because those injuries could not have happened to a nice kid. There is no question that he would have been the heart of a team that could have been something special last season. For whatever reason, it wasn't meant to be. Now he is back for an encore performance and everyone simply wants to take joy in watching him play basketball for a full season. I can't imagine how terribly frustrating it is to be blessed with so much talent, but to be betrayed by your own body.

In a perfect world he lays waste to the Big Ten, averaging 35 and 15 every night. He returns to The Barn and exorcises the Demon Wood of that raised floor Keyser Soze-style, dropping 55 on the hapless Gophers over and around triple-teams. He rockets up NBA draft boards as Purdue gets on his back and heads to New Orleans in early April, where local resident Drew Brees steps into the Purdue locker room to give words of encouragement before we take the floor.

Instead, I think we're going to get a smart, savvy player that picks his spots and plays the game within the game as well as anybody in the country. A quiet 15 and 8 every night is very likely, with occasional performances like the first half against Ohio State in 2010 when he laid waste to everyone.More importantly I wish nothing on him more than a completely healthy season that is long overdue.

And then, in April 2012 when the Celtics are looking to pick someone in the NBA Draft...

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