One of the most versatile and best players in the nation in the 2007 recruiting is 6'7" Robbie Hummel from Valparaiso (Ind.) High School. Though he projects with his size as a small forward, he has the skills and savvy of a guard. Hummel recently completed his junior season with the Valparaiso Vikings, once again one of the top teams in the state of Indiana.
"We went 21-3. It's been like that the last four years here. We've had some good teams - 22-3, 23-3, 19-5 and 22-3," he details. "We'll probably be even better next year than this year. We had seven juniors and some good sophomores on the team, all coming back."
Hummel as a junior was named First Team All-State this winter, notching his name alongside the likes of seniors Greg Oden and Mike Conley at Lawrence North, who in late March claimed their third straight Class 4A Indiana state championship with a 80-56 beatdown of Muncie Central. Hummel and his teammates at Valpo fell just two games short of a chance to play Oden & Co. for the state title in Conseco Fieldhouse.
"We lost in the regional finals," the Vikings junior explains. "We probably were the only team in the state who had the talent who could have beaten, or at least played with, Lawrence North. We played five guards, and that can be a tough match up for a team."
Hummel, listed by newspapers in Indiana at 6'8", is an unlikely player to carry a "guard" label. But that is a role he plays on the floor - not some careless label attached to him. He played some point guard last year for his AAU team as their press breaker, and then he played more still during his high school junior season at Valparaiso.
"I played 32 minutes per game this year, and about 25 minutes I would play point guard with seven minutes at other positions," Hummel reveals. "That's what Coach asked me to do. He is like a second dad to us on the team, so we listen to him. We do what he wants us to do."
Hummel scored, distributed, rebounded and defended from all over the court. Using his length, he would even defend opposing point guards. As a reflection of his balanced abilities, Hummel averaged 13.5 points, six rebounds and two assists per game.
"My assists were way higher than that, though," Hummel laughs. "I swear our statistician doesn't know what an assist is."
Among his peers in the 2007 recruiting class, Hummel is already rated as a four-star talent by Scout.com, also ranked as the #13 small forward in the nation. Dave Telep has laid eyes on Hummel numerous times on the travel circuit with his team, the SYF Players, and that was the case again in April during the busy evaluation period. Hummel and the SYF Players in fact made it to the championship game of the spring's biggest tournament, the Kingwood Classic played two weekends ago in Houston (Tex.).
"Robbie Hummel is a glue guy," Telep reports. "He's a very good passer who, because of his overall skill level, can man multiple positions. He's one of those kids that never really does anything to stick out but always plays hard and is solid."
"I think he's a heckuva college basketball player who loves to compete and play the game," Scout.com's National Recruiting Director continues. "He's a strong teammate, and there's a lot of value in going about your business, playing your position and limiting your mistakes. He'll keep you honest with his shot, and his size comes in handy."
Early in his junior season, Hummel reached a dozen scholarship offers, with a good number of those coming after his sophomore year. His has been an advanced and elevated national recruitment, which has afforded him an aggressive start on the evaluation of his suitors toward an early college decision. Two of his most favored schools were places he visited in the winter, checking out the campuses and able to watch high profile college basketball games. He hit Raleigh (N.C.) in February to unofficially visit North Carolina State when they hosted Maryland, and back in late November he made the in-state trek to Assembly Hall to see Indiana battle #1-ranked Duke.
The benefit of a hot early recruitment for a prospective student-athlete is the chance to research and visit schools before their senior year, or before NCAA rules allow college coaches to call and visit them frequently. Hummel was moving rapidly down that path and by now planned on narrowing his list of schools to just a handful for final evaluation. Hummel had strong feelings for Indiana and NC State both, but then his recruiting world unraveled. Hoosiers head coach Mike Davis, who offered the Valparaiso standout last summer, was fired. Wolfpack head man Herb Sendek bolted for the Pac-10 as the new head coach at Arizona State. The college coaching carrousel hit Hummel, and took him for a dizzying spin.
"I'm not in a hurry anymore," Hummel says. "The coaching changes at IU and NC State kind of put me back at square one. It's kind of frustrating after what I had built with those schools, but I understand it's a business."
The business now at hand includes examining his other options, as well as taking a look at what the future holds in Bloomington and Raleigh. The Hoosiers hired Kelvin Sampson, who has yet to make an offer to Hummel, while North Carolina State is still looking for a head coach more than a month after losing Sendek.
"I liked both coaches, but I like both of those schools. I still like those schools," Hummel explains. "Kelvin Sampson has not heard of me, but they have come by to watch me so I know they're interested. I really liked [NC State]. It's a good area, and they play in the ACC. Hopefully they find a coach who is interested in me."
These events are bad news for Hummel and his previously laid college commitment plans, but good news for a school like Stanford who is trying to recruit the Indiana forward from a distance. The Cardinal may have a slightly larger window of time and opportunity with which to recruit Hummel and help him navigate the admissions application process, as he backs up his timeframe for narrowing his school list.
"They've come to see me. Coach [Tony] Fuller came by and met with my coach and guidance counselor," Hummel reports. "I think they're really interested. I know I have to get admitted to the school to get a scholarship offer, and there's a good possibility I could do it. I scored a 1700 on the SAT, and I might retake that if Stanford says I have to take it again."
"They're a good program, and it's as good an education as you can get. With a Stanford degree, you're set for life," he adds. "The minus is the location. It's a long way away. California is far from home."
Though the forward-guard has moved back his first step of trimming his school list, he is still intent upon making his final college decision before the start of his senior season - by the end of the summer or September at the latest. That makes it unlikely that he will take official visits, which works against Stanford. Hummel has no current plans for an unofficial visit out West. It will take a great effort, and not a little bit of luck, for Trent Johnson and the Cardinal to hold on in this race. But Hummel is a high level player who can play many positions and play them well, which will make his pursuit a worthy one. Stay tuned for this story as it develops in the coming weeks and months.
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