In 1967, a basketball team led by Ed Hummer ’67 steamrolled the Ivy League to win its second conference title in three years. Forty-six years later, a Hummer once again is leading the team — and this time, he is the league’s top player.
Ian Hummer ’13, Ed’s son, ranks among the top five players in the league in points, rebounds, and assists as of late January. In a nationally televised game against Fordham in December, Hummer notched his 1,300th point and 600th rebound, becoming only the second player in program history to reach both plateaus. The first, of course, is Princeton legend Bill Bradley ’65, a teammate of Ed Hummer’s on the 1965 Final Four team.
This year’s Tigers had a disappointing start to the season, but were 3–0 in league play as of Feb. 4 with victories over Columbia, Cornell, and Penn. In what is expected to be a battle with Harvard for the conference title, Hummer’s many talents could put Princeton over the top.
The 6-foot-7 forward has exceptional passing skills for a player of his size. He finds open teammates from all areas of the court, and while his aggressiveness sometimes results in turnovers, more often it leads to points: Hummer, one of the team’s captains, has assisted a greater share of his teammates’ shots than any other Division-I forward.
Hummer was a quieter presence as an underclassman, often deferring to the team’s veterans. This year, he’s mentored forwards Denton Koon ’15 and Hans Brase ’16, who both broke into the starting lineup midseason. Hummer’s versatility allows teammates to flourish in narrower roles. On a team without many true guards, he frequently takes on ball-handling duties and defends opponents at all positions.
His uncle, John Hummer ’70, also was a Tiger captain, and Ian Hummer never shied away from the challenge of maintaining his family’s tradition, naming Princeton as his top college choice throughout the recruiting process.
Hummer often turns to his father and uncle for feedback on his playing. An hour after Princeton’s upset of Harvard last year, the three Hummers walked through several plays from the game together in an empty Jadwin Gym. Hummer always is thinking about how to refine his playing, according to head coach Mitch Henderson ’98: “We work very hard on the little, finer points of the game. But Ian does things you can’t teach,” he told The Star-Ledger.
Hummer’s place in the Princeton record books already is secure: He is on pace to pass Doug Davis ’12 as the Tigers’ second-leading all-time scorer by the end of the season; he also ranks among the career leaders in rebounds, blocked shots, assists, and steals.
“Being in a line of Hummers who were captains on Princeton teams is pretty special,” he said. “They have their own legacies, and hopefully I’m making my own.”