Purdue's Robbie Hummel is a "point forward," a very nice euphemism for a "tweener." In the Big Ten game, he's a big, tall point guard who can run the floor with decisive a height advantage over other point guards like Magic Johnson at Michigan State or Anfernee Hardaway at Memphis.
"Because I'm taller, when I bring the ball up I think it's a huge advantage to how I can see the floor," Hummel said during my exclusive interview with him. "When I was little, I always played guard. I wasn't very big, but then I grew a lot between my eighth grade and freshman year, so with that I kind of kept my guard skills and tried to add some big man skills, but I'm kind of used to playing the point."
The 20-year-old junior is 6-8 but just 208 pounds and projects to more of a tweener in the NBA; not big and strong enough to guard twos and way too skinny and weak to bang down low with the fours. So, he would most likely play the three in the NBA. He's quick enough to play the one in college, but likely doesn't have the same speed burst to keep up with point guards at the next level.
Right now some 2010 NFL Mock Drafts have him as a mid-to-late second-rounder, but if he stays in school all four years and puts on a lot of muscle, he could be a legitimate prospect at the four.
"I'd like to become better with my back to the basket; earlier in the year when we played Illinois I had Chester Frazier guarding me and I didn't capitalize on that," Hummel said describing a matchup where he had a decisive size advantage, but failed to exploit it.
Hummel's stock was higher in 2008 than it currently is (doesn't it seem like everybody's stocks were doing much better a year ago?) when he was finalist for the Oscar Robertson and John Wooden awards during his freshman season - the first Boilermaker since Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson to earn such recognition.
In his freshman season, Hummel was an All-Big Ten First Team selection, leading the conference in 3-point field goal percentage. This past year, the conference's preseason Player of the Year was among the Big Ten leaders in rebounding, scoring, 3-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage despite having to battle nagging, persistent back injuries. Most importantly, the Boilers had an extremely high winning percentage when Hummel played, and an absolutely dreadful record when he was absent.
With all of Hummel's back injuries, red flags have been raised about his health. Unless he has an outstanding (and 100-percent healthy) junior season, he would be better served staying in school until 2011.