LEXINGTON – Already loaded with one of the best recruiting classes in the country, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team has bolstered its 2015-16 frontline with the addition of Australian big man Isaac Humphries. UK head coach John Calipari announced the signing on Thursday.
“I watched Isaac when he first came over to the United States in high school in Indiana and was impressed with his skill and size,” Calipari said. “He reminded me of a much bigger Josh Harrellson. He’s very skilled, has great hands and is a great passer. To have a 7-footer who just turned 17, he has a lot still in front of him, and the best part is he wants the challenge of playing at Kentucky.”
A 7-footer from Australia, Humphries was originally a member of the 2016 class before just recently reclassifying to 2015. As a member of the 2016 class, he was rated a top-50 prospect by most major recruiting services.
Humphries, a forward/center, will help fill a front line that saw Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles and Dakari Johnson depart in the spring for the NBA Draft. Listed at 7 feet and approximately 250 pounds by most recruiting services, Humphries will add considerable size alongside the nation’s top recruit, Skal Labissiere, and returners Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, Humphries was a vital piece of the Australian U17 National Team that won the silver medal at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. Guiding the Australians to the championship game, Humphries led the team in scoring (18.9 points per game), rebounding (11.6 rebounds per game), blocked shots (3.3 blocks per game) and field-goal percentage (.576).
Included in Humphries’ dominating run with the Australian U17 National Team was a 41-point, 19-rebound effort in a victory over fellow Kentucky signee Jamal Murray’s Canadian U17 National Team. In the championship game vs. the United States, Humphries recorded eight points and seven rebounds.
Humphries, who played prep ball this past season at La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., was ranked as high as No. 34 in the Rivals 2016 rankings before reclassifying to 2015. Scout lists him as the ninth-best center in its new 2015 rankings.
Continuing the recent UK trend of signing international players, Humphries is the fourth player in the Wildcats’ 2015 class born outside of the United States, joining Labissiere from Haiti and Mychal Mulder and Murray from Canada. Including the recently departed Lyles, Kentucky has signed five international players over the last two seasons.
“You’re recruiting guys who don’t want to run from this,” Calipari said of the recent trend. “This is what they want. Whether they’re from Lexington, Ky., or Toronto, Canada, or from Australia, who wants this? Because guys who play here, they’ll tell – you’ve got to want this. It’s not something you can run from. You’ve got to run at it. And those are the guys that come here and have success.”
Humphries will join an already stacked recruiting class that includes Labissiere, Murray, Mulder, Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews. The group includes three five-star recruits, two four-star recruits, a McDonald’s All-American, a junior-college All-American, three Nike Hoop Summit participants, three Jordan Classic participants and three players with national team experience.
Kentucky’s 2015 signing haul is now being regarded as a top-two class by virtually every major recruiting service. It marks the seventh consecutive recruiting class under Calipari to earn a top-three ranking.