Dec. 16, 2003
Kris Humphries was named the Big Ten Men's Basketball Player of the Week on December 8th following back-to-back games against Virginia and Western Illinois where he averaged 23 points and 13.5 rebounds, and on November 24th when he led the Gophers in the first and second rounds of the NIT. Thus far, Humphries leads the Big Ten in scoring average (24.4 points per game) and rebounding (11.4 rebounds per game), and is the first freshman to do so since Ohio State's Michael Redd in 1998. Humphries was a 2003 first team Parade and McDonald's All-American in high school, as well as being named Minnesota's Mr. Basketball after his senior season. He was also the third leading scorer on the 2002 U.S. Junior World Championship Team behind current NBA players Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Here is how Kris answered some of our questions about his early success, playing in the Big Ten, and who's the toughest competition he's ever faced.
This is your second Player of the Week award in just the first three weeks, what do you attribute your early success to?
To overall team effort and my teammates helping me make the adjustment to college basketball, and also the coaches for putting me in situations where I can be successful.
It's noted in your Player of the Week bio that you are on pace to be the first freshman since at least 1959 to lead the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding. Do you pay attention to statements and statistics like that?
Not really. I kind of notice them after the season, but when I'm playing I just try and go out every night and do the best I can, and not focus on numbers or records and all that stuff.
What are you most looking forward to in the Big Ten season?
I'm just looking forward to big games, playing in front of a ton of people and just the Big Ten atmosphere. That's just something special that I've loved my whole life.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge of the Conference schedule?
Going on the road against really good teams and sold-out arenas. Just the pressure of playing on the road.
Now as a freshman, and even early in the basketball season, do you get recognized walking around on campus?
Yeah, people always say `good luck' if it's a game day, or tell me we played a good game. We have great fans at Minnesota, and it seems like everyone I talk to is a Gopher fan.
How do you like playing on the raised floor at Williams Arena?
I like it. I've played on it since I was younger, so I've played here before and I'm used to it and don't really notice it. It's a unique arena and I love playing here.
It says in your bio that Christian Laettner is one of the toughest players you've ever faced. When did you play him?
Well that's not really accurate anymore; I'm not sure when that was written. I've played against Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups, Al Harrington, and a bunch of different guys.
When did you play against Kevin Garnett?
I played him last summer and the summer before.
Finish this sentence for me: If I wasn't playing basketball, I would...
I'd definitely be playing football, probably tight end or wide receiver.