"Babbitt's got a very nice lefty stroke out to the stripe, but also has the toughness and low-post skills to do damage inside," said West Coast recruiting analyst Greg Hicks.
He's rated as the ninth best player in the class and has all the big time programs after him. The Cats are involved and you can bet they'll keep tabs on Babbitt this summer and beyond. To be honest, I have not seen a ton of Babbitt's game. He's a little like Adam Morrison in that he does not have the speed to be a pure wing or the power to be a physical four. What he does do is find ways to score.
Right behind Babbitt on the list is Portland big man Andy Poling. Poling is still developing but he's tall, long and athletic. He's gotten better quickly, and his offense has really come around since we first saw him a year ago.
Poling is still filling out, but his inside post moves and feel for the game have really come around. When we first saw Poling he was deferring a lot to players like Robert Sacre, Phil Nelson and Seth Tarver, but by the end of the summer he was a go-to guy as Sacre and Tarver had moved on to other teams. Poling's scoring average climbed 12 points from his freshman year to his sophomore year and it should only get better as his confidence grows.
Arizona is clearly in the mix. Poling is planning on coming to the Arizona elite camp over the summer and the Cats have been front and center at a few of his games and practices.
No young player was more impressive last summer than Brandon Jennings. He's dropped a bit to number 12 in the top-25, but he's still the nation's top point guard. He was a known commodity back in July but really made a name for himself in a showdown with O.J. Mayo last July.
Jennings is a point guard who can both score and distribute. He does have a tendency to try to make the spectacular play when an easy play is warranted, and that hurt his team just a bit in the High school season.
"A quick and explosive lefty, Jennings shined last spring and summer in the open-court game of travel ball," Hicks said. His speed and ability to get to the rim really served him well in the fast-paced, no-defense games of April and July."
Despite some struggles with his Compton-Dominguez team, Jennings has all the tools and skills to be among the elite players in the class.
Jennings likes the Cats a whole lot and is friends with future Wildcat Jerryd Bayless. However, the Bruins seem to be in good shape as well.
He gets less hype than some of the others on the list, but San Diego's Jeff Withey has a ton of upside. Already pushing seven feet, he's gaining a lot of confidence in his ability. Withey is athletic and with nice footwork and a decent mid-range stroke. He's still thin, but has the frame to put on and successfully carry more muscle.
"He's not quite as polished as Poling in the low post, but he might be a little better athlete overall," Hicks noted.
The 14th rated Withey has already been to Tucson for the Wildcat elite camp and the team seems to be in good shape with him.
Athletic power forward Drew Gordon is receiveing a lot of hype and rightfully so. The NoCal product has a great build and a lot of athleticism. He's got a nice touch and seems willing to put in the necessary work to be an elite level prospect.
Gordon is a long ways away from making a decision and the Cats are in the picture but they probably have a lot of work to do.
21st rated Jrue Holiday is a player. The young wing has a really nice feel for the game and is a good athlete. He's a big time scorer who can put the ball in the basket from a variety of ways.
The Cats are clearly in the mix, but so are schools like UCLA and Washington. His brother is a good prospect in the 2007 class and the two of them have discussed playing together, but both admit that they are not a package deal and are more than willing to play at different schools.
Larry Drew sneaks into the top-25 at 23rd. Like Jennings he's a top West Coast point guard who has seen his stock drop a tad. It's not that Drew has gotten worse, it's just the fact that he has not shown a huge amount of improvement.
"Drew has a good feel for the position of point guard and he generally makes good decisions," said Hicks. "He finds open teammates off of penetration and knows how to draw the defense to create open looks."
Drew is a pure point guard, one who knows the position and is a true floor general. He's a pass first guy who does a great job getting teammates involved.
Arizona is in the mix, but so are a lot of other teams. It is very early in the process and Drew claims he is in no hurry to make a decision.