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No turning back for Humphries

Minnesota freshman decides to turn pro

Associated Press

.MINNEAPOLIS -- Kris Humphries, the first freshman to lead the Big Ten in both scoring and rebounding, announced today that he will leave Minnesota and enter the NBA draft.

"It feels like it's the right time for me," Humphries, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, said at a news conference. "It's tough to go, but I feel like I made the right decision."

Humphries said that he will soon choose and hire an agent, which will make him unable to withdrawal from the draft and return to college basketball.

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Gophers coach Dan Monson wished Humphries well. "I'm excited for Kris," he said. "He's represented this university with nothing but class through a difficult year for this program."

Humphries averaged 21.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, but it wasn't enough to keep the Gophers from a 10th-place finish in the conference.

Humphries is currently projected to be picked in the middle of the first round by the Web site, www.NBADraft.net, but no one is sure which other college underclassmen, high school and international players will be available.

Humphries is the second Gophers player in as many seasons to leave school early for the pros.

Last year, sophomore Rick Rickert declared for the draft and was a mercy pick in the second round by the hometown Timberwolves.

But at 6-foot-8 and a chiseled 240 pounds, Humphries is physically more ready for the rigors of the NBA than was Rickert, who played in Slovenia last season.

Humphries departure leaves the Gophers very thin up front, with center Jeff Hagen the most experienced post player.

The Gophers will probably count on incoming freshman Spencer Tollackson to immediately contribute.

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