MINNEAPOLIS – If Robbie Hummel is looking for a comfortable setting to continue his comeback from two major knee injuries, it would be hard for him to pick a better place than Minnesota.
The Timberwolves picked the Purdue forward with the 58th overall pick on Thursday night, confident that he is fully recovered from two torn ACLs in his right knee.
Hummel said he has been coming to Minnesota with his family for years. His great-grandfather built a cabin on Pelican Lake near Brainerd that was a family destination, his grandparents are from Blue Earth and a great-uncle is the principal at a metro area high school.
Ive been coming up to Minneapolis since I was born, the Indiana native said in a conference call Friday.
Hummel averaged 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as a fifth-year senior for the Boilermakers last year, solid numbers considering he said he still wasnt at 100 percent by the end of the season after tearing up the same knee in back-to-back seasons and missing all of 2010-11.
He worked out for the Timberwolves and representatives from every other team at Target Center this summer, then had a good showing at the combine in Chicago.
Im really close. If Im not 100 percent Im at 95, not all the way back yet but they say it takes 20 months and thats where Im at at this point, Hummel said. I feel really good, and I think this is the best Ive felt and the best Ive played in a long time.
When draft night arrived, Hummel waited, and waited and waited. He was preparing to field offers to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent when the Timberwolves called his name two picks before the draft ended.
At that point you kind of are preparing yourself for the worst, and thats to go undrafted, even if it might to be better off for you not to be drafted, Hummel said. But I think the Minnesota situation is great. I think there is a lot of opportunity there, and Im looking forward to making the team.
The Timberwolves loved Hummels shooting skills and size and figured it was a minimal risk to take a player with his injury history considering he was once projected to be a lottery pick. The Wolves need competent outside shooters after Wes Johnson, Martell Webster and Michael Beasley struggled with injuries and inconsistency last year.
He can really shoot it, Timberwolves president David Kahn said. But he has some game too. Hes not a flashy passer, but hes steady. But hes got a beautiful shot with a quick release. In our league, if you can make shots on a consistent basis and you have a little bit of size to you, ... they have a chance to make the league.
Hummel will participate on the Wolves summer league team in Las Vegas and he even offered to tutor star point guard Ricky Rubio, who tore the ACL in his left knee in March, on how to recover from the injury.
Yeah, Hummel said with a chuckle. Ive been through it twice, so I think can give him some advice on that. It was unfortunate to watch him go down, but its something you can come back from for sure.