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  • Humphries a nice fit for Kentucky

    By: LARRY VAUGHT

    It’s almost impossible to think that Kentucky coach John Calipari could stay behind the scenes and snatch away any recruit. Yet that’s exactly what Calipari and his staff have done with four-star Australian center Isaac Humphries.

    He decided to reclassify into the 2015 recruiting class after playing last season at La Lumiere in Indiana and various media outlets, including ESPN, reported Thursday that he had signed with Kentucky and would be on campus Monday for the start of classes next week.

    He chose the Wildcats over Oregon, Kansas, Wichita State and New Mexico.

    Humphries averaged 18.9 points and 11.6 rebounds — including 41 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks against Canada — at the FIBA U17 World Championships for Australia.

    He joins five-star center Skal Labissiere, five-star guards Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray, four-star wing Charles Matthews and junior college shooter Mychal Mulder in Calipari’s recruiting class. But what’s so important is that he not only gives UK another inside presence to go with Labissiere and Marcus Lee, but he’s also a bigger, stronger presence. That will help in games but also in practice with Labissiere and Lee have to go against him. If New Zealand’s Tai Wynyard would also enroll in December as he has indicated he might, that would give UK another big practice body even if he redshirts and does not play this season.

    Kentucky apparently has been involved with Humphries for several months even though few knew about it and in recent months assistant coach Tony Barbee has kept in regular contact with Humphries.

    Kentucky’s roster will now included Murray from Canada, Labissiere from Haiti and Humphries along with Wynyard on the way.

    “You’re recruiting guys who don’t want to run from this; this is what they want,” Calipari said earlier this summer when asked about the international flavor of his roster after adding Murray. “And whether they’re from Lexington, Ky., or from Toronto, Canada, or from Australia, New Zealand, who wants this? Because guys that play here will tell you: You gotta want this. You can’t run from it. You gotta run at it. And those are the guys that come here and have success, so it’s not been by design but, again, the guys we have, I don’t care where they’re from; they’re pretty good players.”

    Humphries is a top 50 prospect in the 2016 class who is expected to spend at least two years at Kentucky. He averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game last season. He will not turn 18 until January and did not move to the United States until 2014, so he’s still learning to adjust to the faster pace of play here.

    NBCsports.com’s Rob Dauster said while he’s not as skilled as Labissiere or as athletic as Willie Cauley-Stein was, he is a nice fit for UK.

    “He’s big-bodied and strong and he has a solid touch in the paint and around the rim. He’s not a game-changing recruit — at least not for this season, as he has to spend two years in college — but he’ll add depth to the front line, he’ll have a year to develop under Calipari in a reserve role and he’ll provide some insurance should Labissiere run into any trouble with the NCAA,” Dauster wrote.

    A day earlier UK got a verbal commitment from 6-11 Sasha Killeya-Jones. Once he de-committed from Virginia, Kentucky was one of several schools to get involved with him. ESPN ranks him 56th currently in the 2016 recruiting class.

    “When Kentucky is involved with a top kid, they show up at games and everybody knows,”ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi said. “But every now and then they find guys they really like and scout those guys and evaluate them. Once they evaluate, they zero in and they really liked Jones.

    “People think John just selects talent. He does not. He recruits. He goes against the best and battles hard with the best. But I think he is also a great evaluator and knows what he wants. Look back at when he was at UMass. He had a talented team and a lot of under the radar guys that were great players.”
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. suncat05's Avatar
      suncat05 -
      Coach Calipari is recruiting big, strong, solid bodies so that situations like Notre Dame & Wisconsin don't leave us on the outside looking in again.
      The more I reflect on it, the more I see that having somewhat physical players like Randle & Young was what got us over the hump against Wisconsin in the NCAA's the previous year.
      We didn't have that this year, especially with Alex being out with that knee injury. I still believe we would have won that game if we'd had him in this last NCAA. On the other hand, you can never have enough big physical low post players either.
    1. KeithKSR's Avatar
      KeithKSR -
      Cal continues to evolve as a coach.
    1. LarryVaught1's Avatar
      LarryVaught1 -
      Cal's creativity is amazing
    1. Hoss's Avatar
      Hoss -
      Can't wait to see this team come together!
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post

      Kentucky’s roster will now included Murray from Canada, Labissiere from Haiti and Humphries along with Wynyard on the way.

      Let's not forget that Mychal Mulder is Canadian as well
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