It of course had to happen on Friday night. While I was in the far Western part of Kentucky for Fancy Farm, eating with the KSR crew at Patti’s Settlement (which is really, really good), the news that we have hinted at for a number of weeks finally broke. Kentucky is looking to add big man Isaac Humphries to the 2015 class to join the team this year. Many were surprised by the news, but those that listen to KSR were not. I have been hinting for 6 weeks that it was coming because this has been in the works for UK since the last two big men that UK was interested in for the 2015 class (Caleb Swanigan and Check Diallo) made decisions to go elsewhere. The Cats decided that Humphries, a talented big man that was initially supposed to be in the 2016 class, would be a good addition to this year and pay dividends for next, while not scaring off any top recruits. Plus, there was the added benefit of keeping the news relatively silent for a long time, thus not allowing other schools to come after him once they knew he was interested in reclassifying. It was, and is, a win-win.
Since the announcement, I have seen some UK fans online complaining that they don’t think Humphries is good enough or the signing doesn’t make sense, all the while having never watched him play one game ever. That is of course an idiotic and uninformed opinion. If you haven’t at this point learned to give Calipari a little benefit of the doubt, you never will. Here is the thinking behind adding Humphries from UK’s side…the Australian is a big guy that the Cats see as a meaty body for this year, who can develop into a Jorts-like contributor in the second year. They like the talent that he has and his ability to shoot and rebound. While the 2016 class is loaded with perimeter players and long athletes that can fly, true big men aren’t in high abundance. Calipari knows he will lose Skal and Poythress this year and realizes he could lose Marcus Lee depending on how things go. While Kentucky will likely get Sacha Killeya-Jones and likely one more big man, having Humphries allows a top 50 talent who can develop and be very good over time. That is a win-win. Plus, Isaac is tough and on a team this year that may lack a little toughness (outside of Tyler Ulis), that is a very valuable commodity.
It is important to note however that Humphries is not yet eligible to play at Kentucky this year. Since the decision to reclassify was made late, he has had to take a number of classes to get eligible for next year and that process has not been completed. It will not be done for the next 2 weeks or so and that is partially why the news had not been leaked. It came out this weekend after he visited while camps were in town and because he was with Jamal Murray a great deal (they are friends from various international events). Before everyone assumes he is on the team, this process has to finish and he has to actually get eligible.
I see the addition of Humphries as a great one for UK…he provides a big body for this year and has a chance to develop into a very good player. Calipari isn’t out for charity cases…this is a Top 50 talent who is VERY big while also being skilled. It is another late grab for Kentucky from Calipari and one that I think will be big both this year, and in the future.