The Minnesota Gophers aren't one of the most perpetually dominant teams in the Big Ten, but that's not to say that they haven't churned out some solid pro prospects in the past. Kevin McHale went on to have a legendary career with the Boston Celtics, and Lou Hudson and Mychal Thompson were solid contributors on some great teams in the 70s and 80s. But let's focus on the here and now. Who does Minnesota have in the NBA today?
Well, that's kind of a letdown. But hey, you can't deny that Humphries has been a solid player throughout his short career.
He's a hometown boy, as he graduated from Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, MN, a school that's currently producing some great prospects like Siyani Chambers of Harvard and Amir Coffey of the class of 2016. He was a 2003 McDonald's All American, and went on to average 21.7 points a game for Minnesota.
He was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 14th pick of the 2004 NBA Draft. He never really broke into the Utah rotation, and wound up with the Toronto Raptors. In Canada, he found his NBA niche: rebounding. That's his strongest attribute, and allows him to keep finding roles on NBA teams.
He was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2010, and that's where his career took off, both on and off the court. His averages with the Nets hover around a double-double per game, and he became an integral part of some very solid Nets teams. This caught the attention of NBA fans around the league, but also brought Ms. Kim Kardashian into his life.
The whole reason we write these articles is to prove that basketball players from the Big Ten can succeed in the NBA. For some of the schools, it's tough to demonstrate hard evidence of that success. Therefore, we have to get a little creative. Humphries has had a solid NBA career, but he's a household name because of his relationship with Kim. There you have it. Listen up kids, if you want to be famous in the NBA, go to a Big Ten school. Maybe you'll become a solid rebounder or maybe you'll date a Kardashian. Who knows.
As fate would have it, their love was never meant to me, and they filed for divorce a mere 72 days as a married couple. Then, it became clear that their marriage was probably a publicity stunt and blah blah blah this is a basketball blog.
Humphries spent this past season with the Boston Celtics, as he was a part of the trade package that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. In Boston, he averaged a solid 8.4 points and 5.9 boards a game. Not bad, buddy. The most impressive part of his current place in the NBA is his salary: he made $12 million last year.
Maybe Kris Humphries has it all figured out. He dated a famously beautiful woman and makes an absurd amount of money. Much respect, Kris.
That's all the Gophers have to represent them in the NBA as of today. Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe both went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, and could potentially find a spot on a roster soon. Williams spent the last season with the Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League, and Mbakwe plays for Virtus Roma in Italy (alongside fellow B1G buddy, ex-Badger Jordan Taylor! Small world!)
Coach Richard Pitino seems keen on creating a new culture at the Barn. He's bumping up the efforts on recruiting, and hopes to bring some hot talent for the Gopher fans to enjoy. Let's hope we can expand this conversation past Kris Humphries some day soon.