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Stanford Basketball Player Profile: Michael Humphrey

Can Michael Humphrey find high-level consistency in 2016-17?

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Stanford John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Humphrey, Stanford Cardinal basketball
Stanford junior Michael Humphrey
Stanford Athletics
Season Games Played Minutes Played FG-FGA FG% 3FG-3FGA 3FG% FT% eFG% Rebounds per game Blocks per game Steals per game Points per game PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
2014-15 30 338 41-74 55.4 0-2 0 50 55.4 2.7 0.8 0.4 3.1 17.2
2015-16 30 726 128-260 49.2 9-28 32.1 64.3 51 6.4 1.3 0.8 10.3 20.6
Career 60 1064 169-334 50.6 9-30 30 60.9 51.9 4.5 1 0.6 6.7 19.5

The biggest revelation for the 2015-16 season was undoubtedly Michael Humphrey. He had a nice freshman season, but did he ever exceed anyone’s best expectations for his sophomore campaign. Not only did he emerge as a potential star player for the Cardinal, there were times when it was clear that Humphrey was Stanford’s best player.

Michael Humphrey was initially slotted to back up Reid Travis. When Travis was injured and out for the season, Humphrey pounced on his opportunity.

By season’s end, Humphrey was Stanford leader in Player Efficiency Rating (20.6).

Humphrey’s best abilities are on display on the defensive end of the floor. He led the team in defensive rating posting a 98.3 — that’s a good number. He was Stanford’s best rebounder per 40 minutes. He was the leader in blocked shots.

The 6-foot-9 big man from Phoenix, Arizona was a real difference maker on the defensive end.

Offensively, he was able to be very productive, but it was in spots. His performances varied from night-to-night. He was streaky.

Some nights, he was derailed by foul trouble. On occasion, he was facing a matchup who was talented at posting up — Humphrey’s defensive Achilles’ heel — and he’d find himself on the bench. Finally, there were games when Humphrey simply wasn’t productive on the offensive end. He had 11 games last season shooting below 40%.

At the same time Humphrey was shooting fireballs on some nights. He had 8 games shooting over 60%.

This is the biggest key that Stanford will need from Humphrey in his junior and senior seasons. Humphrey needs to find a confidence and cleverness in his abilities that allows him to consistently produce for the Cardinal even when his shot isn’t on.

Steadiness isn’t always appreciated. It typically isn’t flashy. If a player can provide a relentless stream of high level energy, pesky defense, double digit scoring, and aggressive rebounding no matter what the circumstance, they are like gold.

These kinds of players are so critical to winning basketball and they are so rare.

The thing is, I think Humphrey has the chance to make the leap this season to be the dependable, tough veteran presence that fills the stat sheet every night and makes the savvy team play. If Stanford are going to be special in the next two seasons, Humphrey will need to be a consistent performer.

If he becomes Stanford’s star player, Humphrey won’t be lauded for his athleticism. Nobody will make a YouTube highlight mixtape of his play. But it won’t matter, he will be beloved by true hoops fans. His path to building a respected legacy will be found in his developed ability to consistently bring it and challenge his opponent every time he stepped onto the floor.

As of now, everyone knows that Michael Humphrey is going to play as hard as he can. That can be relied upon.

However, it is still the case that Stanford will simply have to feel it out and see if Humphrey is going to have a big night, or just an average night.

I think everyone would agree that it would be more valuable to trade the occasional 26 point outburst for the constant tide of an efficient 14 points and 8 rebounds. Which is what he gave Stanford during the last 5 games this past season.

Michael Humphrey made a big leap between his freshman and sophomore year. He made himself a key part of the team. Let’s see if Humphrey can make the next leap to stardom.