UA basketball: Cats covet Phoenix big man-turned-star recruit Humphrey

2013-10-16T00:00:00Z 2013-11-25T20:13:03Z UA basketball: Cats covet Phoenix big man-turned-star recruit HumphreyBy Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

When his junior year ended at Phoenix Sunnyslope High School last spring, big man Michael Humphrey didn’t have a single high-major scholarship offer.

Since then, the 6-foot-10 forward has picked up about 40 major offers, including one from the Arizona Wildcats, while taking campus visits, hosting in-home visits with coaches, keeping up a high GPA, quarterbacking his football team to an undefeated record … and trying to keep his head from spinning.

He’s done a pretty good job with that, apparently. Humphrey has already narrowed down his choices to Arizona and Stanford and says he hopes to make a decision sometime soon after visiting the Wildcats for a third time this weekend.

“It’s been pretty hectic but a great process to go through,” Humphrey said Tuesday afternoon. “I’d rather be in this situation than without the offers. I feel like I had a great summer. Obviously, it turned out well.”

After his summertime play ended, Humphrey quickly narrowed his list to 13, then later to five. He took an official visit to Stanford and visited Arizona briefly in August and for last weekend’s Red-Blue Game. Humphrey had initially planned to visit UCLA last weekend but canceled that last week when he cut his list to Stanford and Arizona.

Even though the official visit will be Humphrey’s third time on UA’s campus in the past two months, he may need the extra time.

“I think they’re both great places, and I like the kids on both teams,” Humphrey said of UA and Stanford. “The coaching staffs are both tremendous people, and it’s going to be tough. I’m in love with both places.”

By taking an official visit this time, Humphrey will get to stay overnight, have expenses paid for, and receive a fuller introduction to the school, its academic and athletic programs and staffers.

“Obviously I’m very excited for the official this weekend but watching the game and seeing the players together (at the Red-Blue Game) was something,” Humphrey said. “Meeting some of the other recruits was really good, too.”

Among the visitors last weekend were two already committed players, guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and forward Craig Victor, along with top UA targets such as Stanley Johnson (a 2014 wing), Bennie Boatwright (a 2015 forward), and Derryck Thornton Jr. (a 2016 guard).

That Humphrey is finally being recruited just as heavily as those four- and five-star prospects is not a surprise to Humphrey’s coaches. It just took some exposure, and good health.

Humphrey did not play travel ball at all until this year and couldn’t even play during the spring evaluation period because he broke his thumb during offseason football drills. Then he started playing well for the Arizona Magic club during the summertime travel curcuit, and the offers began to flow in.

“I pretty much promoted him to everybody,” said Anthony Ray, president of the Magic and a scouting service operator. “He went from completely unknown to being the hottest big man out there. Everybody thought he was an intriguing prospect. Then in July, he put it all together.”

Or, as Sunnyslope coach Ray Portela put it, Humphrey “blew up.”

“We always knew he could be a high major prospect,” Portela said. “But the thing that helped him out is he’s playing with a lot of confidence. If you want to be good, you’ve got to think you’re good. There are times where he was hesitant.”

Portela said the 200-pound Humphrey is a good outside shooter, and Anthony Ray said Humphrey still has a guard’s mentality because he didn’t grow significantly until late in his high school career.

“He’s athletic, he’s very aggressive offensively,” Ray said. “He’ll attack the basket, he’s a good finisher, and on defense he can block and change shots. He’s just got a ton of potential.”

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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