I waited on this one...but it keeps coming up, so I'm posting this.
When we all heard about Rob's injury, every Purdue fan, and even some people outside of the Purdue family felt sick...literally, in most cases. But, if you're like me, your sadness turned to anger shortly after as you started interacting with people outside of the Purdue fanbase.
Please understand this: for all of you who haven't wished ill-will upon Purdue, this isn't directed at you. I think everyone, from Hummel's family, down to people like me who are just fans, greatly-appreciate the well-wishes from those who have expressed that it stung them too when the news came out about the Rob's injury. Everyone else, listen closely.
On message boards, radio shows, and even in person I've heard it and seen it...and maybe you have too. Comments like, "We can't have Purdue winning a national championship now, can we." Or people just smirking as they ask, "How about Hummel's knee??" If you're in Indiana and you're a Purdue fan, you know what I'm talking about...and it's pretty disgusting.
Let's look at some of the facts here, shall we? Rob Hummel keeps a higher GPA than I did while at Purdue. He's a legitimate student athlete. He hasn't gotten in trouble with the law. I've never once heard a rumor of him demanding the ball, calling a teammate out or being anything more than a good teammate. He works at all parts of his game, not just offense...and probably doesn't shoot enough. He's a great rebounder, he's a shut-down defender, he moves (a lot) without the ball...and he's extremely fundamentally sound when shooting. A pal of mine once said, "Even his missed shots look good." We all saw what he's capable of last season v. aOSU at Mackey, when he decides to score. He can do it all...and does it well.
When he injured his knee the last time, he decided to take advantage of the time and do something he'd never done before- bulk up. The nickname "Ostrich" simply doesn't fit anymore. The stringbean kid that came to Purdue is now put together pretty well because of his outlook and his work ethic.
This time shortly after it was confirmed he had the same injury, I've heard he said, "At least I'll get to play in the new Mackey." Amazing. I'm positive I wouldn't have the outlook that he does if this had happened to me. Hell, I don't have it...and it didn't happen to me!
That's why I'm mad. Most of the people that have the smirks on their faces and make the comments in the wake of 4's injury were big Bobby Knight supporters. Do you think Knight would have liked to have Hummel on one of his squads...Don't answer- I don't care what you think. I do know that Knight loves the style of Painter's teams. He's said it quite a few times on EsPN.
J and I talked about this- We never liked Evan Turner. Sure, he whipped Purdue, but that wasn't why. We didn't like his cocky demeanor. BUT, when he went down last season, we hoped he'd get healthy quickly. As a fan, you always want to see your team beat the competition at full-strength...it makes a bigger statement.
But, many IU fans don't want Purdue at full-strength...they didn't want any part of Purdue this season with the Big Three in tact. It's understandable, if you're that guy, I guess.
These are the same people who put all their hope into the Kelvin Sampson basket after they got their wish to see Davis run out of town. They continued to defend the cheater saying his infractions weren't that serious. Then, they thought their program was above NCAA sanctions because they didn't know that this convicted cheater would (*gasp*) cheat again. Their frustration continues as Crean has floundered in his recruiting efforts in state. So, you clowns are sick of having your clocks cleaned by Purdue...and everyone else. I get that part.
But, to snicker and take even a little joy in Hummel's injury is pretty despicable. Hummel has been and is a basketball program's dream. So, I take great offense at anyone reveling in an injury that might or might not affect him for the rest of his career...maybe life. We just don't know yet.
Regardless of who it is, it's probably never a good practice to get giddy over a 21 year old getting hurt. And before your joy bubbles over to a full smile as you look ahead to this season, let me give you two reasons your enthusiasm might be short-lived:
You've been warned clowns. Don't think these two and their teammates won't be motivated and ready to play in a few weeks. The media already has ruled Purdue out as a contender...and don't think the players haven't heard the grumblings of the sentiment that Purdue will be lucky to be in the top-4 of the conference. In the recent words of Matty, "Our goals haven't changed."
Purdue fans, it's OK to expect big things still. And, to all those who have enjoyed watching a kid's injury, you should expect more of what you've gotten the past few seasons. Just a reminder, Rob's been hurt before...and the results were just a Big Ten Championship and a Sweet 16. The only difference this season is everyone has a chance to prepare for life without Rob...and they don't have to do it on the fly. Plus, two former multi-season All-Big Ten players are now Seniors.
This season will still be fun...but, I'm really looking forward to February 8th.