The talk of Boiler nation at the homecoming game was not about the football team. It was about the horrible news that swept through the crowd like a tornado. Boiler forward Robbie Hummel tore his ACL for the second time in less than a year at the second practice of the season. Most of what I heard had to deal with the personal feelings of the people at the game. A lot of people worried about March travel plans instead of his future. I admit I had some of those feelings as well. For a kid in college your heart has to go out to Robbie. As hard as he worked to come back only to see it crumble early on. I felt bad when I heard the news, but I am just a fan. I am one of over 14,000 at every home game in Mackey. One of millions of college basketball fans across the country who felt the tremor yesterday. Of the millions of people one really matters right now. That is Robbie himself. He has a long road ahead of him, and will need all the support he can get. Is it crazy that the best idea I have heard so far came from the Indiana head coach? He suggested everyone writing Rob a letter of support. That is not a bad idea. I don’t think it will make the rehab any easier, but it will let him know all of the people that care about him. So sit down at your computer or with a sheet of paper and let this young man know that you are behind him. It is the least you could do.
I thought that I would post some comments that I have seen online about the injury to show you how far the news has reached. Here are just a few of the things I have read over the last couple of days:
- “He’s surprisingly upbeat. Of course, he was disappointed, but he’s been through it once before. Not sure if it makes it any easier the second time.” – Glenn Hummel, Rob’s Dad
- “This is obviously disappointing for Robbie, as well as our team, since he worked so hard to return from the tear he suffered in February. As he begins his rehab and recovery, we’ll persevere together and provide Robbie with all the support possible. I have no doubt he’ll continue to play a pivotal role this season as a leader of this team.” -Purdue head coach Matt Painter
- “As soon as it happened my stomach, it’s still upset. I’ve got a knot in my stomach that I haven’t had in a long time and that’s just because I love the kid and hate to see it happen.” – Morgan Burke Purdue Athletic Director
- “I’ve met Rob a few times quickly…no real connection to him other than I really like him and the way he plays…and like so many other Purdue athletes, he was really nice to my son last spring.” BoilerDowd of Boiled Sports
- “When I heard it this morning, it brought tears to my eyes. He tore up his knee here last year. He’s such a sweet kid, a special young man. He’s got so much going for him. I just feel bad for him and his teammates. Purdue was as good a team as any in the country.’’ -Tubby Smith Minnesota head coach
- “He has done all the right things and it just goes to show how unfair things are at times. If anybody though can handle the adversity it is him. He’s such a tough-minded young man. He loves the game so much. He’s been good to the game.’’ – Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan
- “It’s such a horrific thing because that kid has worked so hard to get back. Obviously I feel bad for Purdue, but it’s devastating for the kid. He is a tremendous player, an all-American that could be a first-team all-American. Purdue is a preseason top four or five team. He played for his country and for this to happen to him two years in a row is just an awful thing. It’s hard to describe.’’ -Jim Boeheim Syracuse head coach
- “Feels terrible for my man Robbie Hummel! Please everyone pray for him so he can have a speedy recovery. He worked so hard to get ready for this season.” – Former Purdue Guard Chris Kramer
- “Whether you are a Purdue fan or not, your heart has to go out to Hummel, his teammates and Matt Painter and his coaching staff. – Jeff Washburn Journal & Courier
- “God, I’m so sick of writing about stuff like this.” – Brian Neubert Gold and Black Illustrated
- “I know Purdue is our rival but after a great practice this morning I was Instantly down and sick to my stomach when J.D. Campbell told me about Robbie Hummel and his injury. I think he epitomizes how one should play, work and carry himself as a young man. He appears to me to be a very mentally and physically tough person so no one should doubt he will be back when he is healthy and be as good as ever. The Crean family is praying for him and I hope you will be too. I am going to write him a letter telling him how much I think of him and I hope you think about doing the same. He is going to need the lift.” – Indiana head coach Tom Crean
- “Rob Hummel is such a team guy! Already trying to figure out how he can help the team off the court! Don’t make them much better!!” – Mike Jackson Purdue Assistant coach
- “Please say you are kidding.” – Tim Cary author of Bleacher Report’s College Football Comprehensive
- “Robbie Hummel was one of the best kids I’ve ever run into – in all my years of covering the NBA, college and high school basketball. I’ve watched and known Hummel for about six years – since he played AAU ball with the SYF Players as a junior in high school. He‘s what’s right with basketball.” – Jeff Goodman Fox Sports.com Senior Basketball Writer
- “I have the greatest respect for Mr. Hummel and my thoughts are with him.” – Mark Hollis Michigan State Athletic Director
- “As much as it sucks for fans its a million times worse for Robbie. Great guy, he doesnt deserve this, lets rally around him.” – The Paint Crew
- “I’m still frozen in my seat in section 117. I got the text message. Haven’t moved since. I don’t know if I can take this anymore. I feel terrible for us, and even worse for Rob.” -BoilerUpAT
- “I was sitting in my seats in section 128, enjoying the weather and the fact Purdue was up early and looking good. Then the buzz happened. I forget exactly how I first heard it, but once I heard I immediately searched everything I could with my phone. I even had a moment of false encouragement when I saw that there was nothing new on Twitter. Once the evil refresh kicked in (slowly because everyone else was using the mobile bandwidth) I saw this dreadful message: @HammerAndRails has 8 new mentions. All I could say was, “Oh God, no!”Honestly, I was numb at that point. I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the first half and sat there quietly in hell as I heard the news spread around me. Between me wanting to throw the two kids under four sitting in front of me because of their constant whining and lack of parenting, and hearing over and over again from everyone nearby that he was done I felt like I was going to be physically ill. At halftime I went under the stands and even had about a 15 second session of actual tears as the emotion of seeing three years of waiting for this season go up in smoke overcame me.” – BoilerTMill writer for Hammer and Rails
As you can see this small list shows what people are thinking. When something like this happens to a good kid a lot of people get involved. One of the classier moves I have seen was by rival coach Tom Crean. He really gained some points in my book. From everything that I have read shortly after he hurt his knee for the second time he said something to the effect of being able to play in the completed Mackey the following season. For a man who has all of that rehab ahead of him he really shows something there. He is picking out positives. When he does take the court in 2011 again I am sure the Boiler faithful will give him the ovation that he deserves.
As far as the program goes I think that the Boilers still have a good team going into the season. They have two potential All Americans still playing in E’Twaun Moore and Jajuan Johnson. They have a nice cast of supporting players that will make Purdue a tough out come March. I think the fact that people like Andy Katz immediately took them from #2 in his poll to #23 will be an added motivator for the team. They have the pre season and non conference to find an answer for Rob. He will not be easily replaced, but this is a good team that can find some options. This team is tough. Any player who is not tough has been weeded out already by Coach Painter. I don’t think they will let this affect their season. I look for them to come out firing this year. I will be there to wish the team well when they make their debut on the court. Remember the team has a banner to raise this season, and another one to play for.