Humphries cleared to play for Gophers
Ex-Hopkins star won't have to sit out a year
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two-time state high school player of the year Kris Humphries has been cleared to play for the Minnesota Gophers this season.
The National Letter of Intent Steering Committee announced Monday that the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Humphries, who originally signed with Duke, would be eligible for the 2003-04 season.
Humphries said he had been confident the committee would allow him to play.
"We knew a while ago that it should be a for-sure (decision), but I didn't want to publicly state it," the former Hopkins star said. "I'm excited to get going."
Humphries was released from his letter of intent by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski this spring and then appealed to the steering committee.
"It's been a tiring process,'' Humphries said. "I thought the whole process was over when I made my first decision. Now I can start a new chapter in my life."
Humphries is expected to help the Gophers immediately and could start as a freshman. The Gophers lost forward Rick Rickert and center Jerry Holman from last season's squad.
"We can't be more excited," Gophers coach Dan Monson said. "To get a player of that caliber in June under any circumstances is great. To have him eligible immediately makes it that much better."
Humphries, the most heralded Minnesota high school player since Rickert, averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals and 5 assists as a senior last season.
"We can start planning our team with him involved," Monson said. "He adds so many elements to our team. It's a shot in the arm for our team and it brings us closer to the goals we wanted to achieve.
"As a freshman it's going to be an adjustment, but we know he has the ability to do great things at this level,'' Monson said. "He's more a 4 (power forward) who can play outside, and he can play the 3 (small forward). He has the body that will allow us to go small with him playing in the inside.''
The Gophers finished 19-14 last season -- the most wins in Monson's four-year tenure -- but failed again to reach the NCAA Tournament and were forced to settle for the NIT for the third straight year. Monson has yet to guide the Gophers to the NCAA Tournament.
Humphries is expected to go to Florida to work out with NBA players before joining his new teammates.