Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Former La Lumiere (IN) associate head coach Brad Johnstin, who is close to Humphries, said by text: “Everything is speculation. Anything out there hasn’t come from Isaac.”
The addition of Humphries would mark the second huge late recruiting coup for head coach John Calipari, who previously got Canadian point guard Jamal Murray to reclass to 2015 and commit to the Wildcats.
“He’ll be an impact guy from Day 1,” one Australian source who has followed Humphries for quite some time told SNY.tv. “He’ll surprise some people.”
The source added: “Isaac is a 2-year guy at Kentucky. More than likely he declares in 2017.”
With the addition of Humphries, Kentucky would have players from Australia, Canada (Murray and Mychal Mulder), Haiti (Skal Labissiere) and New Zealand (Tai Wynyard, expected to enroll in December.)
Calipari watched Humphries in January when the big man went for 21 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks as La Lumiere (IN) beat Wasatch Academy (UT), 71-54.
“It means a lot,” Johnstin told SNY.tv at the time. “We’re really appreciative that he came. It means a lot to us in the basketball program. It probably means we’re doing something right.”
Humphries began classes at La Lumiere Jan. 5 after coming over from Australia and then drew interest from Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Arizona and numerous other high-majors.
Calipari was the only head coach able to make it through the weather that night, but assistants from Purdue, Butler and Loyola-Marymount were also on hand.
“That’s pretty cool for [Humphries],” Johnstin said of Calipari coming. “I think he’s just concerned about enjoying the team and the school. I wouldn’t say it’s overwhelming, he’s taking everything in stride.
“It’s cool, it’s definitely rewarding. It’s not the end all, be all. He’s excited to keep going.”
Kentucky lost four big men to the NBA Draft this year in Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson and freshman forward Trey Lyles.
Labissiere is the projected No. 1 pick in 2016 by DraftExpress.com, but Humphries is a bigger, bulkier center and provides insurance in case Labissiere doesn’t qualify.
Labissiere expressed confidence in April that he would qualify.
“I’ll be able to play right away,” Labissiere told The Courier-Journal. “The NCAA is going to clear me and I’ll be able to play right away.”
Meantime, Calipari hinted at adding a second big while speaking with reporters on Saturday.
“Do you play with two bigs?” Calipari said. “Now we’re going to have an opportunity to play with two 7-footers again if we choose to do that, but we may play three guards. It’s not my druthers, but we could do that. We may go back to the dribble-drive. There’s so many questions.”
He added: “You’re recruiting guys who don’t want to run from this; this is what they want. 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.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.