Zagcruit Corner: Luke Babbitt

Like with Denver's Matt Bouldin last year, the competition for Luke Babbitt is considerable... But the Zags are "all in" for the sensational forward from Reno. (Copyright 2006 and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed.)

With very few exceptions Mark Few and the Gonzaga staff recruit balanced classes. For 2007, it's wing Austin Daye, shooting guard Steven Gray and center Robert Sacre. Each complements the other.

Skilled, finesse center Andy Poling committed and got the 2008 Zag class rolling in late-July in an elite way. What better way to complement Poling than with an elite prospect who is a tough, hustling, highly skilled forward with as much inside-outside versatility as anyone in the country?

What better way to keep the Zags at a Final Four level?

Luke Babbitt can bury treys all night long, and even though he rates with the best shooters at any position, his strength is in the low post where his toughness and skills show the most. No high school junior is perfect, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find flaws in Luke's game.

One analyst watched Luke last May and had this to say:

"All I can say is ‘wow'. This was my first introduction to the Reno forward and he more than lived up to the hype. He's tall, strong and can flat out stroke the ball. He's not afraid to mix it up inside, but may be at his best when firing from the outside. He has a pure jumper that would make the smallest of two guards jealous.

"Babbitt can more than hold his own inside. He's got strength and can operate on the low blocks. He does not have a full arsenal of back to the basket post moves, but can score when he gets the ball down low."

Head coach Mark Few is going after the best player in years in Nevada like he went after the best player in years in Colorado. Undaunted by UConn, Notre Dame and ACC schools, Few brought Denver's Matt Bouldin to Spokane. Now, with equally large programs wanting Luke, GU's head coach feels the Zags have what Babbitt is looking for.

An insider close to Luke's recruitment stated, "Gonzaga is doing a good job with Babbitt for sure. It's one of the only schools I think is legitimately in it."

It is even speculated that this recruiting battle has come down to Gonzaga and Arizona, with Luke being more familiar with the latter due to a tournament and a camp on the Tucson campus as opposed to not being at Gonzaga yet.

The Galena High School star will likely visit (unofficially) both schools this coming basketball season before making a commitment before his junior year is finished.

Gonzaga's television exposure, new arena and fanatical basketball-only atmosphere are obvious selling points, but Luke Babbitt is well grounded and looks at academics, coaches, players and more. That is why his visits will be so important in his decision-making.

To view Babbitt in action, follow the Links to a film clip of one of the top 2008 Gonzaga recruiting priorities.

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