Big Ten Weekly Five: 06.28.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on June 28th, 2012

  1. Tom Izzo seems to be on a mission to have the Spartans play in a unique non-conference game ever year. Michigan State and North Carolina faced off on a live aircraft carrier last November but the matchup this year will is heading overseas. MSU and Connecticut will kick off the college basketball season on November 9 at the Ramstein air base in Germany. According to reports, the game will be in played in front of approximately 3,000 enlisted men and women at the base. Over the years, college hoops hasn’t necessarily had one single tip-off event that is a highlight on TV similar to Opening Day of Major League Baseball or even the first weekend of college football action. But unique match-ups such as this one and the Carrier Classic game from last year are slowly beginning to build the hype for the first week of hoops to satisfy the college basketball faithful.
  2. Matt Painter recruited Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson together and the core group has helped to instill Painter’s legacy at Purdue so far. Moore and Johnson were drafted last year by the Boston Celtics and the third of the once known as “baby Boilers” might join them in the NBA very soon. Hummel performed very well at the NBA Draft combine and may be drafted in the second round tonight. Overall, Hummel has been extremely positive about the upcoming draft because of his comeback from an ACL injury last year. Just the mere fact that he is considered as a potential selection after multiple knee injuries in college is a tremendous accomplishment for one of the best Big Ten players over the last decade. Hummel averaged 16.4 PPG in his redshirt senior season after missing over a year due to the injuries. His intangibles and shooting touch on the court should earn him a chance to play in the NBA even if he isn’t drafted this evening.
  3. One of the major prerequisites for the open Illinois head coaching job this offseason was the ability to recruit in the Chicago area. The Windy City, which is considered one of the top recruiting pipelines in the country, has not always sent notable alumni to Champaign. But new head coach John Groce is attempting to change that trend, and the last piece of his new staff may help him in that effort. Former Illinois State assistant Paris Parham was hired by Groce to help him recruit the Chicago area. Parham has coached in the Chicago Public League and Illini fans hope that his past connections can help jump start the recruiting process.
  4. Speaking of Chicago, Bulls’ forward Luol Deng will have a member of his family joining him in the area. Bill Carmody and the Northwestern coaching staff are adding Deng’s cousin, Chier Ajou, to the roster next season. Ajou is a 7’2″, 235-lb center who chose the Wildcats over Butler. The Wildcats lost their starting center Luka Mirkovic from last season, so Ajou will join a team with a chance to earn time immediately. Northwestern will be led by Drew Crawford who hopes to build on a great junior season where he averaged 16.1 PPG.
  5. What’s the best way to reward your coaching staff after a Big Ten regular season championship? Give them extensions. Michigan‘s assistant coaches recently received multiyear extensions after a great 2011-12 season. John Beilein is signed through 2015-16 and the extensions include several incentives for Big Ten championships and NCAA Tournament wins. One of the assistants, Jeff Meyer, has been in Ann Arbor for five years, three of those as an assistant. Keeping the assistant coaches happy is extremely essential to solidify a consistent recruiting pipeline and Michigan AD Dave Brandon definitely wants to keep this staff intact for the long term.
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Robbie Hummel: Back In Action But Not the Same Player?

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on February 1st, 2012

As North Carolina’s Dexter Strickland held onto his foot in extreme pain two weeks ago against Virginia Tech, every Tar Heel fan knew that their chances to get to the Final Four decreased immediately.  Purdue fans can relate to that feeling.  They experienced the same drop in their heart rate on February 24, 2010, when star forward Robbie Hummel tore his ACL in Minneapolis.  To make matters worse, the Basketball Gods were really upset with West Lafayette because Hummel injured his knee again just before the 2010-11 season.

Robbie Hummel's Resurgence Is Worth Rooting For

The Baby BoilersE’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Hummel couldn’t finish what they had started out to do as freshmen in 2008 – to play during the last weekend of the college hoops season.  It couldn’t happen due to Hummel’s injuries. Hummel returned to the court after an 18-month strenuous rehabilitation process.  His buddies are gone but he remains one of the top scorers in the conference – averaging 15.2 points per game.  His offensive production hasn’t changed much from the 2010 season (15.4 PPG) but there is just something different about him on the court. He looks the same and he generates enough offense but his arsenal of moves has been affected by the injuries.

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