It’s obvious Notre Dame’s focus for recruiting in 2014 is getting frontcourt players and that search brought the Irish to Phoenix in an attempt to land power forward Michael Humphrey.
The Irish extended an offer to the 6-foot-9, 205-pounder and landed a spot on his official visit itinerary. Humphrey will begin his official visits with a trip to Vanderbilt this weekend, followed by stops at Stanford, Notre Dame, UCLA and Arizona. He’s planning to make a decision after he concludes his visits.
The Sunnyslope High School standout, who is currently showcasing his athleticism as the school’s quarterback, has the attitude all coaches are looking for.
“The thing about Michael that makes him special is that he competes, he plays hard, he’s just a quality guy,” Sunnyslope head basketball coach Ray Portela says. “He plays hard; he’s getting more and more confident in his abilities. More than anything, he’s just a great teammate and a great kid to coach.”
One thing that jumps out on film aside from his athleticism and skill is the patience with which Humphrey plays.
“He’s learned to adjust to the game, see what’s coming to him, be patient and be content with what the game’s giving him,” said Portela.
His coach believes he possesses the kind of abilities the Irish look for in big men.
“I think he’s the kind of guy who’s going to be able to set some screens, pick-and-pop, shoot from the outside for a big guy, maybe rip-and-go around somebody, which you don’t see a lot of 6-8, 6-9 guys be able to do,” Portela said.
Off the court, Portela is just as complementary of Humphrey, if not more.
“You couldn’t find a better young man,” he said. “He’s a great kid. I think all of his teammates love him. He’s a great teammate, comes from a great family. His parents have done a great job of raising him. He’s not cocky or anything like that. He’s not big-headed. He just keeps a low profile and goes about his business. That’s what makes him so special.”
Notre Dame’s reputation as a basketball program and an academic institution along with the reputation of head coach Mike Brey has allowed the Irish into the mix with Humphrey.
“I think it’s their track record,” said Portela. “They’ve had a great program the past couple of years. Coach Brey has been there 14 years now and he has a great track record of doing great things with big players. The school itself has a lot of tradition, a lot of upside and great connections afterward.”
Humphrey will get his chance to learn more about Notre Dame as a school and Brey’s program when he takes that official visit to South Bend in two weeks.