The year was 2012, it was Rob’s 5th year in the Old Gold & Black. After our dream season went down the drain in 2011, Robbie was back for year five. Gone were JaJuan Johnson and E’Twuan Moore.
It was his team, and his team alone now.
Robbie led our Boilermakers, through thick and thin, highs and lows, to the vaunted NCAA Tournament. Many didn’t think we’d be back, with Robbie as our only scorer and rotating between centers of, Sandi Marcius and Travis FREAKING Carroll.
But, Robbie had a Robbie year. 20 points per game, leading us to the tournament.
The Boilers were seeded 10th, as we drew St. Mary’s, as we disposed of them, we saw the Blue Blood program of Kansas (Our soon to be opponent on Thursday). Everyone counted us out, but we responded.
After one half of play we lead, 36 to 30. With Robbie scorching hot, trying to will this team to the Sweet 16 basically by himself.
The second half didn’t go as well as the first but we were weathering the storm. We were still leading. But, failure and disaster felt so close. This became a reality.
As we were trying to work the clock, clinging on to a 60-59 lead, Lewis Jackson lost the ball and those damn Jayhawks took the lead for the first time with 23 seconds to go in the game.
I don’t want to finish the rest, as I am near tears now. We lost, 63-60. Damn those Jayhawks.
After the game, I was in the locker room, asking questions as a member of the media for Hammer and Rails.
I asked Robbie “Robbie, we gave Kansas our best shot tonight, how could we have held them off?”
He said, “Kyle, we should have blown those bastards out, in fact, I am going to predict in 5 years, half a decade from now, we will play them in the Sweet 16 and the future Boilers will avenge this loss.”
Looking dazed and confused, as Robbie Hummel just predicted the future as some sort of fortune teller, I said “Robbie, that is oddly specific, how do you know it will happen in exactly 5 years, against Kansas?”
He said, “Because I am Robbie God Damn Hummel.”
I then went and asked Coach Painter, “Coach, Robbie just predicted we will play Kansas in 5 years in the Sweet 16, why is he predicting this?”
Coach Painter replied with “He has been predicting things like that since his Freshman year, he predicted that we would play Kansas in Round 2 this year during his sophomore year, if he said it you should believe it.”
I asked, “What else has he predicted?”
Coach Painter said “He told me two years ago, I would recruit a player that has too much sauce for the point guard position, whatever the hell that means.”
I left immediately, I didn’t tell any of the guys on H&R, as they would think that Robbie and Coach Painter needed to go to the looney bin. I kept this all in until now.
Obviously, as it was Robbie’s last game for Purdue, I would never get the chance to interview him again. So I waited, 5 years. I graduated from College, got my first job & continued to write for H&R. I almost forgot what Rob predicted 5 years ago.
Then selection Sunday came.
I saw Kansas as the 1 seed. Us as the 4 seed. Realizing, that if the cards are played right, we are going to be in the Freaking Sweet 16 playing against one another!
It jogged my memory back to March 19th, 2012, when Robbie predicted this.
At this point, during Selection Sunday, I still thought it was a long shot, both for us to get to the Sweet 16, with our recent first round failures, and for Kansas to get through Michigan State in Round 2.
After beating Vermont & Iowa State. We have settled in as a member of the Sweet 16.
I watched the Kansas vs Michigan State game, rooting for MSU, because I didn’t want Rob to be right again.
He was already correct with the prediction that Coach Painter was going to recruit a point guard with too much sauce (S/O to Ronnie Johnson).
Could he be correct again? No way.
MSU came out strong, taking the blows from Kansas. But in the end, Kansas prevailed.
God Damn you Robbie Hummel, you were correct again you wizard. The Sweet 16 battle royale has been set, Caleb Swanigan and the Boilermakers vs Frank Mason and the Jayhawks.
... About two hours after the game, Robbie dm’d me on Twitter, he said.
“Remember 5 years ago today, when I told you that we would play Kansas in the Sweet 16?”
I said, “Yes, Robbie.” “How did you know this was going to happen?”
No response. The mystery continues. I want to know more.
I poured questions on him.
“Will Caleb win NPOY?’
“Will we beat Kansas?”
“Do we make the final 4?!”
“DO WE WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP?”
...Crickets.... no response. Robbie has cut me off, he won’t tell me more, but I want more.
The Revenge of Robbie Hummel is now in full force. We need to beat those Jayhawks.
..Woah, my phone just vibrated. It’s him.
“Kyle, if the Boilers avenge my loss from 2012, I will give you all the answers.”
Damn it Robbie! Don’t do this.
The Revenge of Robbie is on, we must win, we can win, WE HAVE TO WIN. I. NEED. ANSWERS.
To be continued....