Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Hummel trying to prove he belongs

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Vikings draft, Vikings trade talk, Wolves news Updated: June 1, 2012 - 3:06 PM

  Another dozen players with NBA dreams took part in the second day of  workouts the Wolves organized.

Among them were at least two players who have compelling stories.

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I was at today's workouts, which finished up just after noon, allowing representatives of teams from around the league to get to the airport and get out of town.

Among those working out today was Robbie Hummel, the former Purdue forward who battled injuries throughout much of his college career. He had a sore back as a sophomore. As  junior both he and the Boilermakers were on a roll when Hummel tore the ACL in his right knee in a game vs. Minnesota at Williams Arena. it was Feb. 24, 2010 when he planted his foot, it slipped and the ACL went. He came back from that, but tore the same ligament again that October during pre-season practice. 

After missing the 2011-12 season, he came back to play for Purdue last season. And while he played well, he said he was never 100 percent, not even during the NCAA tournament. But now, he said, he feels almost all the way back.

"I haven't' had any problems with the knee," he said. "I feel great, and I'm starting to feel kind of explosive again, so that's always a good thing. Obviously it's a concern for teams. but I think I can prove to them that I'm healthy."

That's why workouts like this one are so important. Everyone wants to know that the knee is no longer an issue. Hummel talked  about the pain he felt, both physically and emotionally, that day in Feb. of 2010 when he first hurt his knee. He also talked about the frustration he felt during his rehab. 

But he came out of it with a new appreciation for basketball. If he does get drafted -- which is nowhere near a certainty -- or if he does ultimately make an NBA roster, Hummel said he will appreciate it more.

"I always knew I'd come back and play," he said. "But I just didn't know if I was going to be any good. And for a while during the (2011-12) season, I didn't shoot the ball very well. it was frustrating. I didn't know if I would start playing well again. People kept telling me, 'Don't worry, it's going to come.' And they were right. It did."

 

Another player of note was former Missouri star Kim English, a 6-6 shooting guard who rebounded from a down junior season to play well as a senior. He averaged 14.5 points per game, shooting 52.1 percent overall, 45.9 percent from three-point range. 

Most draft folks have English going in the second round. His perimeter scoring ability could make him attractive to the Wolves should he be there when the team's second-round pick comes up.

English is a sharp guy, and he's obviously done his homework. When asked if he'd like to play with the Wolves, he gushed about how big a fan he was of the team last season, how good the team was playing before Rubio got hurt. He had the date on Rubio's injury memorized, as well as the play. He even knew the Wolves'  current situation at shooting guard. "With (Derrick) Williams, (Kevin) Love, they have guys who can score in small spaces," English said. "Having a shooter would make it easier for them. You guys had Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington..."

I'll bet he is pretty good in pre-draft interviews. 

Finally, Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn spoke, briefly, again. 

He said that trade talk is heating up now that the draft lottery has set the first-round drafting order. He reiterated the team's needs of outside shooting, ball-handling, interior defense and scoring. 

That's about it for now. Have a good weekend.

 

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