“No Longer Baby Boilers, We Gonna Cut the Nets Down…”

(Brace yourselves…. it’s going to be a long blog.)

Once upon a time, there were four high school seniors: 2 from Valparaiso, one from Indianapolis, and one from East Chicago. All were amazing basketball players. They all were planning on going to Purdue in the fall, to help improve the already improving Boilermaker Basketball. These seniors-Robbie Hummel, Scott Martin, JaJuan Johnson, and E’Twaun Moore- were dubbed as the “Baby Boilers”.

After just one year for the Boilers, Scott decided to transfer to Notre Dame. Many said it was because he did not see the playing time he felt he deserved. Regardless, the Baby Boilers finished the season off with a 25-9 record, and made it to the second round of NCAA tournament.

 


With the boys now acting as a trio, it was clear they were a force to be reckoned with. Robbie Hummel stood out immediately and earned the nickname “White Lightening” (meaning he could strike from anywhere) JaJuan Johnson was becoming a standard forward, getting his fair share of shots and rebounds. E’ Twaun Moore began his future descent on breaking 2,000 points in his career, as well as most starts/minutes in a game. They ended their sophomore year by reaching the Sweet Sixteen NCAA tournament, and a record of 27-10. During this season, one small girl would enter Mackey arena to watch her first game with her big brother. This team would forever change her life, as she immediately re-developed a love for basketball (me.)

Junior year would prove to be difficult for the boys. The team was on a quick rise in rankings. Many saw the Boilermakers as an easy Final Four team, with the Junior Baby Boilers leading the team. Near the end of their Big Ten Season, Hummel tore his ACL in an away game against Minnesota. Suddenly, the Boilers were doubted, claiming they were nothing without Robbie. The Boilers finished off the season with another appearannce in the Sweet Sixteen, a share of the Big Ten title, and a record of 29-6.

There was a slight scare among Boiler nation, when JaJuan and E’Twaun entered the NBA draft. E’Twaun decided to go back to the Boilers, but JaJuan was not sure. Articles say that Hummel sent a simple text to Johnson saying, “We came in together, we go out together.” Johnson decided to stay, however, Robbie’s text would sadly not come true.

With all of the rehab done over the summer, Robbie was expected to be back to himself, and finish his career with the Baby Boilers. In the first practice of his senior season, he injured the same knee. The Boilers had been ranked in the top 3 spots in many different National rankings. They dropped as soon as news of Hummel got around. Again, people doubted them. Saying they were no longer a final four team. Although Robbie decided to red shirt this season and come back for a final year next season, the Baby Boilers were again divided.

Today, I watched 2/3 of that trio play their final home game. JaJuan: Pre-Season All American, First Team All Big Ten, All Defensive Team, and over 100o points scored. E’Twaun Moore: over 2,000 points, most minutes played, most starts, First Team All Big Ten, All-Freshmen Team, Academic All-American Selection,  Third Team All American Honorable Mention All American. Both men are the winning-est players in Purdue history. Both gave speeches, immediately thanking God for all He had done for them. They also mention Robbie. They are no longer Baby Boilers…. they all grew up. You could tell how hard it was for him to watch his teammates during their senior night. But you know he’s just going to work that much harder next season.

I’d say “Happily Ever After”, but I can’t say it until we’re cutting down the nets in Houston. My “season” of being a Paint Crew member is over for this year. But my Boilermakers are no where near done. I have always had faith in my boys, who are now ranked #6 in the nation. Show them how we do it, guys! Big Ten Title  and a National Title… we’re ready.

E’Twaun and JaJuan. You are both two amazing players. You showed class everytime you stepped onto any court. You kept an undefeated season here at Mackey this year. I am grateful you guys showed me again why I loved the sport. I am so lucky to have gotten one year to attend Purdue while you were still playing.

Boiler up!

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~ by Hannah on March 2, 2011.

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