What do you do when a big-time basketball star comes back to his hometown? You have breakfast and talk hoops, of course.
ValpoLife.com teamed up with Blackbird Cafe to host a “Basketball Breakfast with Robbie” event on Monday morning, starting out many folks’ week with a light-hearted conversation about Robbie’s recent season playing in Spain, his upcoming basketball camp this June and his future going forward into what will be a big summer for the young man.
The conversation kicked off with the recent changes in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization, the team that drafted Hummel in the 2012 NBA Draft. The General Manager in charge at the time has been let go, with longtime NBA coach Flip Saunders tasked with running the organization in his stead.
The goal for Hummel is to reach the NBA, a goal that he thinks is attainable going into the 2013-13 NBA season.
“Flip Saunders has a great basketball mind and he has coached in the NBA for a long time,” said Hummel. “My agent has a really good relationship with him, so we’ll see what happens. It wasn’t really good or bad. It’s kind of the way of the NBA, I guess.”
The two began talking about the upcoming Robbie Hummel Basketball Camp at the Fieldhouse in Merrillville from June 11 through June 14th.
“First of all having him (father Glenn Hummel) around has been a godsend because in Spain you just can’t do all of the stuff you can do in the USA [for the camp],” said Hummel. “It’s just getting all of the guys who will work the camp here and run around to make sure things are running smoothly.”
Hummel went on to touch on some of the coaches working the camp along with himself, including William Buford (Ohio State), DJ Byrd (Purdue) among other college players and coaches. “The kids will be working with some guys who are extremely talented basketball players,” he said.
With over 100 kids signed up already, the camp is expecting an even higher turnout.
“People have been very positive about it. Hopefully we can keep doing this for years to come,” explained Hummel. “We ultimately want to be known for the kids having fun. We don’t want this to be a vacation, we want to teach fundamentals, but we’ll make it fun.”
Chris and Robbie then talked about the rigors of training professionally for basketball, including some of the sacrifices made to improve Hummel’s overall game. One of these sacrifices includes actually playing games of basketball, in particular pick-up games, which amounts to “pretty much zero” of his on-the-court training.
“Playing pickup used to be one of my favorite things to do,” explained Hummel. “After I hurt my knee it was just like, if I were to hurt myself playing in a meaningless pickup game, I just wouldn’t be able to live with that decision.”
The conversation then changed course to the recent changes in coaching at Valparaiso High School, Hummel’s alma mater, including the appointment of Matt Thomas as the Vikings’ new head basketball coach. Hummel played for Thomas in eighth grade at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and at the high school.
On the subject of Thomas, Hummel glowingly reacted by saying, “He knows his stuff. Coach Thomas likes to get after it, for sure. Coach Otis was more of a laid back guy and Coach Thomas is more intense. It’s a good thing, I know I enjoyed playing for him.”
“I remember back when we were in an eighth-grade AAU game, it was Thomas Jefferson versus Ben Franklin. I remember Coach Thomas gave us a 14-page-packet called, ‘How to Beat BF’. It was a statistical breakdown, personnel breakdown, like it was the Eastern Conference Finals.”
Chris then asked Robbie about the Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals, with the subject centering on LeBron James, who Hummel called “the best player on the planet, by far.”
Hummel also talked about life in Europe, especially in terms of keeping touch with friends, family, and fans “across the pond”. Hummel uses social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Vine to keep up with many, using Skype to talk with his parents, and even uses Slingbox to keep up with American television.