FORT WAYNE – Robbie Hummel is on one of the hottest streaks in the Big Ten.
And it’s coming at the most important stretch of the season.
Hummel and the Boilermakers shoot for their third straight victory today, facing Penn State (12-17, 4-12 Big Ten). It will be senior night for Hummel, Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith.
He’s playing at a whole other level than he was at the beginning of the Big Ten season, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said during the Big Ten teleconference Monday. He looks terrific. He looks like he’s officially back. Every time the ball leaves his hands, I think it’s going in. That’s how well he’s playing.
He’s putting the Purdue team on his back. To go to Michigan and win the way they did is pretty amazing. The way they are competing lately is unbelievable, and a lot of it has to do with his play, his confidence and his leadership.
Hummel was named the Big Ten co-player of the week Monday. He averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last week in wins over Nebraska and at Michigan. Hummel scored a season-high 29 points against Nebraska.
He’s put in a lot of time, Purdue coach Matt Painter said. He’s stayed the course. Even when shots haven’t been going down and things haven’t been going his way, he’s stayed positive and he’s kept plugging. That’s just the type of kid he is.
Hummel is averaging 23.2 points in the last five games. The Boilermakers (19-10, 9-7) have won four of the five contests.
Coach Painter has done a great job of bringing these guys along, especially with having some adversity, Chambers said. That’s when your leaders and your best players have to step up most, and I think that’s what Robbie Hummel’s doing.
Terone Johnson has had a larger role in Purdue’s offense since Kelsey Barlow’s dismissal for violation of team rules Feb. 17. Johnson had 11 points and five rebounds against Nebraska. He scored a career-high 22 points against Michigan.
The things we’ve been able to do from a basketball standpoint, we’ve been able to put a little more skill on the court in terms of guys shooting the ball, Painter said. It’s allowed a couple of guys, especially a Terone Johnson, to play through his mistakes a little bit more and having more opportunities. Obviously that helped us at Michigan.
We’ve made some shots. Obviously against Nebraska, we made a lot of shots. Against Michigan, we made shots. Any time that happens, you’re going to feel better about yourself.
But it’s just been two games. I don’t know if we have enough data to really speak on it and have a strong conviction that, Hey, this is why we are this way.’ We’re hopefully going in the right direction.