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Friday, May 27, 2022

When Gators forward Dan Werner strolled into the training room to get taped before Sunday's game against Vanderbilt, he was shocked to see his former road-game roommate, Lee Humphrey, standing there - without his hair.

Humphrey impulsively decided Saturday that he wanted to fly to Gainesville to visit his girlfriend and some friends and to check out the team, so he hopped on a plane and made it into town at 2 a.m.

"It was just awesome to see Lee," Werner said. "I see he shaved his head. That's pretty wild. I like it, though."

Humphrey, who holds the UF record (288) and NCAA Tournament record (47) for career 3-pointers, returned home to Maryville, Tenn., two days before Christmas after he was released from the Greek team PAOK.

The Greek league allows only two American players per team, and when PAOK felt it needed a point guard, Humphrey was cut for former Loyola (Md.) player Jason Rowe.

Humphrey said he had a lot to adjust to while overseas, from the style of play to the culture. The play is a lot more physical and losing games was something new.

"We struggled. We weren't doing that well, which was a difficult change for me," Humphrey said.

Then there was his living environment. Humphrey arrived in Greece on Aug. 26 to a non-air-conditioned condominium and temperatures climbed to 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

In order to sleep, Humphrey removed the mattress from his bed frame and laid it on the floor in front of his balcony. Sheets and a comforter were out of the question.

Humphrey's travels to China and Brazil while he was in college with the Sports Reach program helped him adjust more quickly to the culture, but he said the language barrier was sometimes too much to overcome.

"Greek is hard," he said. "I was only there for four months. I can say a few phrases, and I picked up some stuff from the guys in the locker room. There was a few times, though, that I just had to resort to waving my hands."

Still, Humphrey enjoyed the four months he spent living in Greece.

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He said he could see Mount Olympus from his balcony on a clear day, and he enjoyed immersing himself in the biblical sites, not to mention the cuisine.

Humphrey said Greek salad was his favorite dish. But it's not like the kind made in America, and he apparently liked it so much that he could rattle off all the ingredients by memory during the phone interview - onions, tomatoes, olive oil….

While he was overseas, Humphrey missed out on receiving his national championship ring at an on-field ceremony when UF's football team hosted Tennessee on Sept. 15.

Although he regretted his absence, his parents accepted the ring on his behalf. His mother had her cell phone on during the presentation so her son could listen to the applause on the other end.

Humphrey finally saw the ring when he came home - "it's really big" - and his parents keep it locked away in a safety deposit box with the rest of his championship jewelry.

Humphrey said he would like to continue playing overseas, and he hopes he will find a team to play for within the next week

"I'm not picky," Humphrey said. "I'll play for anyone."

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