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Humphries impressed with Gophers

Ex-player watches Monday practice

Knight Ridder Newspapers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kris Humphries said he's had fun watching the University of Minnesota on ESPN as he endures the rigors of his rookie season with the Utah Jazz in the NBA.

Humphries spent the past few days in the Twin Cities while he had time off during the NBA's all-star break. On Monday, he sat on the raised court at Williams Arena wearing a white Jazz shirt as he watched practice at his former school.

He said he is impressed with the energy of the Gophers, who are 17-9, 7-6 in the Big Ten Conference.

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"I think the one thing is just being tough and going after it and not taking plays off,'' Humphries said of the Gophers. "From what I've seen, they've been playing tough, and that just comes from the guys and the coaching staff. Everyone's come together.''

Last season, Humphries averaged 21.7 points and 10.1 rebounds a game at Minnesota. His individual contributions weren't enough to keep the Gophers from suffering through a 12-18 season, 3-13 in conference. He turned pro after his only season with the Gophers.

Now Minnesota is aiming for the NCAA tournament, driven by seniors such as Brent Lawson, Aaron Robinson and Jeff Hagen.

Humphries was selected 14th overall in the 2004 NBA draft. He is averaging 2.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.4 minutes a game at power forward. Utah is last in the Northwest Division with a 17-35 record.

College scores, Page 5D

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