MERRILLVILLE | When Robbie Hummel was taking Spanish back during his middle school and high school days in Valparaiso, he probably wasn't expecting it to play a factor in his basketball career some day.
The former Viking and Purdue Boilermaker is making good use of his foreign language education, while furthering his hoops education with Blusens Monbus Obradoiro CAB in Liga ACB, Spain's top-level professional league.
"I've got a pretty good background so I've picked it up back up pretty well," Hummel said. "It's not as much of an issue as I thought it would be."
With his team on a short break, Hummel flew into Chicago on Thursday for a busy weekend. Friday at The Fieldhouse-Merrillville, he announced plans for the camps he will conduct there for boys and girls grades 1-8 June 11-14. Today at Purdue, he will have his number 4 raised to the rafters before the game with Michigan State. He will climb back on a plane to return to Spain on Sunday.
"I was lucky the team was OK with this weekend," Hummel said. "We didn't make the mid-season cut. It's kind of a positive and a negative. Purdue was very flexible with it. It's going to be a special day. It's something you I dreamed of as a little kid."
Hummel's memories of basketball camps from his youth were part of the reason he chose to do something back in his area.
"I grew up going to the VU camps and had a great time, I figured why not give back to the community?" he said. "It's very good as a little kid to play competition and the social aspect of sports in general is something I think is great for kids. I'm excited. It came together very quickly."
Drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hummel signed to play this season in Spain, where he is a teammate with former rival William Buford of Ohio State. The two live in the same apartment complex, share cooking chores, play video games and talk trash about their days in the Big 10. The teams are each allowed two Americans on the roster though Obradoiro actually has five from the U.S., three of them possessing dual citizenship.
"We've got some good guys on the team," Hummel said. "It's cool playing with William. It's been a good experience. It makes you grow up, for sure, going some place where they don't speak (your language), cooking for yourself, cleaning up. It makes me appreciate the renovations at Purdue."
The start to Hummel's season was delayed briefly after he underwent surgery for a meniscus tear. He currently averages 7.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He notched a professional career high of 18 points recently.
"It's an adjustment, being a professional compared to college," he said. "It's a different game. Not a lot of guys play 30 minutes, which is strange for me. It's tough being away from home, but I feel like I'm doing pretty well."