Kentucky sophomore Isaac Humphries became the fifth Wildcat to turn pro on Wednesday.
The 7-footer will pursue either an NBA or international professional career and will hire an agent, he announced in a release from Kentucky Athletics. He joins freshmen Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo and fellow sophomore Isaiah Briscoe.
Of the five, only Adebayo has left the door open to return to school by not hiring an agent. The Wildcats are also losing seniors Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis and Mychal Mulder, so if Adebayo stays in the draft, eight of last season’s top nine scorers are gone.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) April 12, 2017
Humphries played sparingly last season, scoring just eight total points in the 11 games before UK faced North Carolina in the Elite Eight — but then he nearly became a legend against the Tar Heels. He came off the bench and essentially out of nowhere to produce 12 points and 5 rebounds and give the Cats a late lead, but UNC won on a last-second shot on its way to a national title.
Humphries, who told SEC Country during the NCAA Tournament that he was disappointed with his season and would weigh all his options after it was over, could end up playing pro ball in his native Australia. Kentucky coach John Calipari mentioned during the season that an Australian scout came to Lexington to evaluate Humphries, who made sure to thank Cats fans for their support on his way out of town.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the Big Blue Nation for its unwavering support,” Humphries said. “Coming from Australia, I had no idea what to expect when I got to Kentucky, but you made me one of your own. Your support and passion over the last two years has been unbelievable. I can’t thank you enough for making me feel at home.”
Calipari spoke highly of Humphries’ professional prospects. He said the sophomore has “only begun to scratch the surface of his true potential.”
“I absolutely understand and fully support his decision and I will do whatever I can to help his dreams come true,” Calipari said. “You’re talking about a 7-footer who can shoot and can rebound. That has value anywhere in the world. He’s also just 19 years old, the youngest sophomore in the country this past season. Everyone forgets how young he is and how much he’s going to continue to grow and develop. He’s only going to get better and better.”
Humphries averaged 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds this season while shooting 51.1 percent from the field.
KENTUCKY’S 2017-18 ROSTER
* 5-star center Mohamed Bamba and Pittsburgh transfer Cam Johnson, a 6-foot-8 shooting guard, could still be added to this list.
PG Quade Green, freshman (5-star)
SG Hamidou Diallo, redshirt freshman (5-star)
F Jarred Vanderbilt, freshman (5-star)
F P.J. Washington, freshman (5-star)
C Nick Richards, freshman (5-star)
SG Shai Alexander, freshman (4-star)
SG Jemarl Baker, freshman (4-star)
F Wenyen Gabriel, sophomore (5-star)
F Sacha Killeya-Jones, sophomore (5-star)
F Tai Wynyard, redshirt sophomore (4-star)