Utah takes Humphries at No. 14

NBA Draft

While many of this year’s NBA Draft entrants were anxiously awaiting the announcement of their names at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, former Gophers basketball player Kris Humphries was in downtown Minneapolis at the Market Bar-B-Que restaurant.

“I could have been in New York but I chose to spend this time with my family and friends instead,” Humphries said.

The Utah Jazz selected Humphries, the 2003 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, with the 14th-overall pick in the draft.

“I’ve been a follower of (Utah coach) Jerry Sloan for a while since the Stockton and Malone days,” said Humphries.

In choosing to remain in the draft past the June 18 deadline and hire an agent, Humphries was one of 31 early entrants who chose to forgo their remaining years of college eligibility for a chance to play in the NBA.

Humphries said he put much thought into his decision.

“At the end of the season, I sat down with the people who were important to me: coach Monson, (former NBA player and family friend) Chris Carr, Trent Tucker and my family, and we all made a collective decision as to what was best for me,” said Humphries.

Of the 31 early entry candidates, 19 were selected in the first round of the draft and only two more were taken in the second and final round.

Humphries saw nine high school seniors selected in the first round, but said he felt his year of college basketball was beneficial.

“First off, the Big Ten is a very physical conference and that helped a lot,” said Humphries. “I also had teammates who were very supportive.”

As the Gophers’ star forward, Humphries led the Big Ten in scoring (21.7 points per game) and rebounding (10.1 rebounds per game) and finished sixth in blocked shots with 1.1 per contest.

He became the Gophers’ third first-round NBA draft pick in the last five years.

Despite Minnesota having only one tournament appearance in that time span, Michigan State is the only other Big Ten school that has had more first-round draft picks.

Attending Hopkins High School, Humphries was a 2003 McDonald’s All-American and led his team to the 2002 Minnesota State Championship his junior year.

He also has experience playing for the U.S. Junior National Team alongside current NBA players Chris Bosch and Carmelo Anthony.

“There’s no real thrill,” he said. “I’ve already met most of them and played against them.”

Humphries joins the team in Utah on July 12 for its summer league, where he will play with other rookies and free agents.

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