Humphries & Arizona don't appear to be a good fit

The Arizona coaching staff had an interesting decision to make last week. Top power forward recruit Kris Humphries was released from his letter of intent from Duke. The UA just so happens to have its top power forward recruit testing the pro waters. Could it be a match made in heaven? Maybe...or maybe not.

Humphries took an early visit to Arizona and considered the Cats for some time, but would it make sense for the Cats to re-recruit the two-time Minneapolis Star Tribune Player of the Year?

Humphries has an impressive resume. He was one of the Naismith Award final ten as the top high school player in the country. He was also a Parade and McDonald's All-American and was honored by Student Sports and USA Today.

So it makes sense the Cats would contact Humphries, right? Not so fast.

At this time it does not appear Arizona is interested in pursuing the talented forward from Minnetonka, MN. According to various sources the UA has not made any serious inquiries about attracting Humphries to the team. Illinois, UCLA, Georgia, Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan State, Arkansas, Memphis, Boston College, Stanford, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan, Oregon and Penn State are among the first teams to contact Humphries after his release.

There are several reasons why the Cats are not looking at Humphries. First and foremost is Ndudi Ebi. The Wildcats seem to believe that their prized forward recruit will still be wearing the cardinal and navy next season. According to assistant coach Josh Pastner, Ebi has indicated that unless he is a lottery pick, he will be a Wildcat.

Bringing in Humphries or any other post player at this point may cause Ebi to remain in the draft no matter what. Ebi wants to play at Arizona and as of now he has a great shot at being either the starting power forward or, at worst, the first big man off the bench. The Cats will already have two other freshman post players in Chris Dunn and Kirk Walters. Although Walters and Dunn have a ton of upside, they aren't blue chippers. Adding a third freshman as high profile as Humphries could make the Houston native re-think his position in the NBA Draft.

A second problem is the uncertainty over Humphries' playing status. As it stands, Humphries has to sit out next season. Duke released him from the letter of intent, but that only saves him from sitting out two seasons. Humphries father seems to feel that the NCAA will grant him immediate eligibility, but others aren't so sure. The NCAA frowns on players going from school to school and they usually only grant immediate eligibility in unusual cases.

Last season Arizona benefited from such a ruling in the case of Andre Iguodala. Iguodala was allowed to play right away, but he was coming from a situation where the coach left under a swarm of controversy and sensitive racial issues. There are no such circumstances at Duke. The only problem seems to be an abundance of post players.

The Cats may not want to scare Ebi away for a player that may not play right away and has indicated he wants to play in the NBA sooner rather than later.

A final obstacle may be the fact that Humphries spurned the Cats once already. Lute Olson has rarely been forgiving toward players who chose another school over the Wildcats. Other than Iguodala, most of the players who have transferred to Arizona were never in the picture originally. Players like Luke Recker, Chris Mills and Loren Woods never really considered the Wildcats during their original recruitment.

Of course Humphries hasn't exactly come out and said he is interested in Arizona. The family has said that it is going to take it slow and has not named a leader. He does have ties to Minnesota. His father was a football player for the Gophers.

On the other hand, there are several reasons the Cats could look to Humphries. His father has ties to Rodney Tention and has great respect for the Wildcat coaching staff as a whole. During his original recruitment Humphries' father spoke highly of Olson.

Another obvious draw would be Humphries' talent. The McDonald's All-American is a very strong player who is also very quick and mobile. He has the type of versatility the Cats are looking for.

At this time Humphries is not in the Wildcats' plans. Despite his claims that he will wait to make any kind of decision, it may not be feasible for the Cats to get involved at a later date if Ebi does indeed go pro. At this time hoping for Ebi to withdraw from the draft seems to be a much more realistic goal than hoping Humphries looks to Tucson.

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