UK Recruiting

Seven-foot Australian in class of 2016 brings game stateside

Australia's Isaac Humphries, right, tipped off against Diamond Stone of Team USA during the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship last summer. Humphries averaged 18.9 points in that tournament,
Australia's Isaac Humphries, right, tipped off against Diamond Stone of Team USA during the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship last summer. Humphries averaged 18.9 points in that tournament,

WHEELING, W.Va. — It was a rough afternoon on the basketball court for Isaac Humphries, but there will be plenty of brighter days ahead.

"He's a pro in every sense of the word," said La Lumiere (Ind.) associate head coach Brad Johnstin.

Humphries — a 7-footer in the class of 2016 — had just three points and seven rebounds in La Lumiere's 72-64 loss to Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) at the Cancer Research Classic on Friday.

He went to the bench for a quick rest just three minutes into the first quarter, struggled to get into the flow of the game and spent most of the final five minutes on the sidelines.

That's not normal for a five-star-caliber recruit, but Humphries isn't your typical prospect.

Friday's game was just his third on American soil.

The 16-year-old moved to the United States from Australia last month, and he's still getting a feel for a new brand of basketball.

"Obviously, it's faster," Johnstin said. "There's better guard play here. It's more aggressive. He'll get used to the speed, and he'll be fine. It's everyone getting used to having him here and not settling so much. Everyone is on the same page about that."

Johnstin helped recruit Humphries to the United States as a midseason addition after his spectacular showing in last summer's FIBA under-17 world championships.

Humphries led the Aussies with 18.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots per game, taking them all the way to a gold-medal game matchup with an American team that included such top recruits as Malik Newman, Ivan Rabb, Caleb Swanigan and Harry Giles.

Australia lost that contest, but everyone took notice of Humphries.

Scout.com already ranks him as the No. 28 overall prospect in the junior class.

"You can see the tools," said Scout's director of recruiting Evan Daniels. "He's not a guy who's going to wow you from an athletic standpoint. But he's tough, he's hard-nosed, he rebounds his area, he's got very good hands and very good touch. He can also face up and make a jump shot, and he's a guy who has a lot of potential as a post scorer.

"He's going to be a heavily recruited player, especially now that he's in the United States."

Johnstin says the calls are already coming in.

When asked who had contacted him about Humphries, the coach responded: "Everyone in the country."

La Lumiere's players were not available for interviews after Friday's loss, but Johnstin said Humphries "has a couple of schools in mind that he really likes," and Kentucky is on that list.

UK assistant coach Barry "Slice" Rohrssen has been in regular contact, and he arrived at the gym a couple of hours ahead of John Calipari on Friday so he could watch Humphries in person.

The Australia native is already familiar with UK's program. According to Johnstin, he learned about the Cats by watching ESPN's "All-Access Kentucky" show a couple of years ago.

"He likes how they use their bigs, and obviously their pro development would be good for him," Johnston said.

The coach specifically mentioned Kansas, Arizona and Duke as some other schools that are recruiting Humphries the hardest, but noted that his player still has a long way to go before he's ready to make a college decision.

"We're going to take it slow and hear everyone out," he said. "I would guess that he narrows it down by the end of August and hopefully gets it done in November."

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