I realize that it's not easy to replace any player that has an impact on a team as much as Robbie Hummel had on the Purdue Boilermakers. However, this team still has the talent to get deep into the tournament when March comes around.
While it might seem like a bad joke to Purdue fans, with Hummel going out like this two years in a row, there's no reason to give up on this season. Jajuan Johnson and E'twuan Moore both return after considering the NBA, and both are very good basketball players.
Moore brings an uncanny ability to stretch the defense with his ball skills and three-point shooting. Last season, he put up 16.4 points a game and while he shot 34 percent from beyond the arc, that percentage will increase by a pretty good margin this season.
Part of that will be because of forward Jajuan Johnson. The 6'10'' senior will have to put in his best performance, though, without the presence of Hummel down low. However, he has vastly improved every year he's been at Purdue, so expect him to do the same this year.
Also, when injuries like this take place, there are always inexperienced and young players who have to fill in and play even bigger roles than planned. Players like that this year will be Kelsey Barlow, D.J. Byrd, John Hart, Ryne Smith and Patrick Bade.
Kesley Barlow could be the most important out of this list. After last season's performance, he can only get better with experience. The 6'5'' guard will really have to step up and become a leader on the court if this team does plan to reach the Sweet 16, Elite 8 or beyond.
Finally, this injury will also open the doors for incoming freshmen. Their 2010 class is lead by guard Terone Johnson. Regarded as one of the top recruits in the country, he could be another player who will share time with Kelsey Barlow and others. Boiler Country expects big things out of this young kid over the next couple years, but he will also have to step in and do a lot this year.
Other freshmen names you will hear this season will be Sandi Marcius, Anthony Johnson and Travis Carrol.
Travis Carrol is also one of the big men who will likely see more playing time due to Hummel's injury.
This team has what it takes to be a competitor in the Big Ten. Yes, the loss of a player like Robbie Hummel would hurt any team in the country, but the style that Purdue plays will allow them to continue to roll as the season goes on.
Originally Published on Sports Haze. Go there for all the latest sports news.