Recruit Humphries still undecided on university

by Brett Angel

For a guy who is considered such a sure thing by many in the college basketball world, there certainly are a lot of questions surrounding Kris Humphries.

After making a verbal commitment last spring and signing a national letter of intent to play college basketball at Duke in the upcoming 2003-04 season, the recent Hopkins High School graduate and prep basketball phenom surprised everyone by backing out of that commitment May 19.

Humphries – who averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals last season at Hopkins – asked for and was granted permission by Duke to be released from his commitment to the school and now finds himself in basketball limbo – somewhere between high school and college, amateur and professional.

But since the deadline for early entry to the NBA draft passed on May 12, the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Humphries will spend at least one season listening to fight songs and the animated praise of Dick Vitale.

It’s just a matter of where.

“Anyone who says they think they know what’s going to happen is crazy,” Hopkins basketball coach Ken Novak said. “I don’t think Kris has even made up his mind completely yet.”

After parting ways with Duke last month, Humphries made visits to Iowa State and Indiana before making an unofficial visit to the Minnesota campus and basketball coach Dan Monson on June 6.

NCAA rules prohibit Monson from commenting on potential recruits, but the Gophers would no doubt welcome a player of Humphries’ size. The 18-year-old could capably fill the void left in their frontcourt after losing starters Rick Rickert (6-foot-11) and Jerry Holman (6-foot-10).

It is clear one of those three schools will get the privilege of enrolling Humphries’ services for the next year or two before he is expected to enter the NBA draft.

But beyond that, the McDonald’s All-American and his father William have remained tight-lipped about where Humphries will end up and why he will not attend Duke in the first place.

Playing time considerations and being closer to home have both been mentioned as reasons why Humphries changed his mind, but Novak thinks it’s more complicated.

“Nothing’s that simplistic,” Novak said. “Kris is a good enough player that he’d play at Duke just like he’d play anywhere else. (One of those things) might be a factor, but not a huge factor.”

Still, Humphries’ father, who played football at Minnesota from 1979-82, insists his son has no timetable for making his decision final.

Once Humphries announces his decision, however, there will be no binding agreement with that school until he enrolls in classes this fall because prospective athletes may only sign a national letter of intent once.

And when he decides, Humphries may be prohibited from playing college basketball anywhere next season.

He is still awaiting word regarding his appeal to the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which administers national letters of intent.

By rule, anyone who breaks their agreement with a school once signing a national letter of intent must sit out one season unless they show “extenuating circumstances.”

A decision from the CCA is expected in coming weeks. Humphries’ father has said he is confident a ruling will be made in his son’s favor.

Until then, it’s anyone’s guess.