If you watched college basketball this year -- or watched college basketball the past decade -- you should recognize Robbie Hummel. He was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten forward at Purdue, and now Hummel, who just turned 29 last week, is an analyst on ESPN and Big Ten Network.

Hummel played a year in Spain and two years in the NBA for the Timberwolves before making two more stops in Europe. He probably still has the skills to play professionally somewhere, but psychologically, he was done after playing last season in Russia. He had a miserable time for Khimki, a club based just outside Moscow.

"All of the above, life in general," Hummel says of what he hated in Russia. "It was basketball, it was the way we played. I always prided myself on really working on my game and always putting in the extra time. I really enjoyed doing that. In Russia, I got to a point I just didn't care. I'd show up to practice as late as I could, practice and I'd get out of there. I hated my coach, I didn't want to be there, I had really checked out kind of mentally. To me, I was cheating the game. That's not who I wanted to be as a player. If I looked at myself in the mirror, three years ago, I'd be like that dude is a fraud for what he's doing, I don't like that. I don't respect what I was doing. It was time for me to do something different. I had some pretty good offers to play overseas, but I felt like this was too good of an opportunity to pass up."

Hummel's opportunity was to get into TV. While injured as a member of EA7 Emporio Armani Milano in 2015-16, Hummel came back to the United States to get shoulder surgery and put in some work as a commentator for BTN. The audition in which he showed his poise in front of the camera was enough to make him a hot commodity in 2017.

"I had a broadcasting agent who had a reached out and I had a basketball agent," Hummel says. "I told them both: Get me what you can and bring it to me and we'll make a decision on what I wanted to do."

Broadcasting ended up being the better option than going back overseas.

"I've been super fortunate to work with great people," Hummel says of this past year. "You look at Big Ten Network, Kevin Kugler's probably one of the best play-by-play guys in the business. Brandon Gaudin is the voice of the Madden video games. You're working with big-time guys at Big Ten Network. Then the ESPN stuff, I've called games with Rece Davis and I was just with Dave Flemming, who's the [San Francisco] Giants' play-by-play guy.

"Then studio, Dave Revsine's great, [Rick] Pizzo's great, Mike Hall's awesome.

Hummel still keeps in shape playing in a league in Chicago, his new hometown. Shawn Marion is one of the big names in the group.

With his focus being Big Ten basketball, Hummel's new gig keeps him around the Boilermakers but he promises he can stay objective.

"First of all, you remember where your paycheck's coming from," he says with a laugh. "But also, when you broadcast these games, I'd be lying if I didn't say I played for Matt Painter, I know the guy, so you want to see him to succeed, but you take pride in what you're doing. I called the Michigan-Purdue game. Michigan, they lost, but they played as well as they could have. They were on fire. You really just want to see good games."

Still there is no doubt who Hummel is rooting for to win the NCAA tournament. Purdue is the No. 2 seed in the East, and Boilermaker fans believe this team, which reached as high as No. 3 in the polls this year, can win it all.

"I do," Hummel agrees. "It's a very wide-open field. I think every team has certain flaws. There's not a team like North Carolina when I was in college, where it's like Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington, a loaded team. Or Memphis the year before with D-Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Those teams are stacked. To me, the good teams in college basketball aren't on that level, but they are still very good. Purdue puts four guys on the court at all times who can really shoot and they stick 'em around Isaac Haas.

"They still have four seniors that have been through it ... They had a lot of experience, they've got good players and Coach Painter does a really good job. I would say that even if I didn't play for him."


Hummel spoke to ThePostGame at a Marriott International breakfast in New York City on March 12. Hummel helped local media members make bracket selections and gave away signed basketballs.


Hummel played in three NCAA tournaments, going as far as the Sweet Sixteen.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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