"Along with (Drew) Gordon, Babbitt is the other premier forward prospect in the west for 2008," Hicks said. "He’s got a chance to play the three – excellent shooter with good range – but we think his body type will dictate that he defends a four at the next level. He has a very advanced low-post game with an array of moves inside. He figures to be a tough match-up in college, as he’ll be difficult to defend with a three man inside, but he’ll be able to take a four man out beyond the stripe. Like Gordon, Babbitt will likely be recruited by elite programs nationally."
Just as Hicks predicted, many of the top programs in the country have come a-calling. Duke, Connecticut, and Arizona have all shown interest. On top of that, he's also hearing from the likes of Gonzaga, UCLA, USC, and Indiana. Despite all of the high profile attention, the University of Michigan has managed to make its some headway in young star's recruitment.
"This summer assistant Coach Andy Moore came all the way out to Reno just to see me practice," Babbitt said. "That impressed me. I've had the chance to talk with Coach Moore for a while and I've gotten to know him and about the program at Michigan. He is a nice guy and I could tell he knows the game and that he would be good to have as a coach. I also had a chance to talk with Head coach Tommy Amaker…but just briefly he seems to be nice as well."
Babbitt's impression of the Maize and Blue was been further enhanced by the comments of his head coach at Galena, Tom Maurer. Back in October Coach Maurer was in Midwest visiting good friend, Dan Dakich (Bowling Green's head coach). After he was done catching up with Coach Dakich, Maurer realized he still had a lot of time on his hands. At that point he remembered an open invitation he'd received from Moore to come visit the Ann Arbor if he was ever in the area. He decided to make the trek one hour north. Once he got there, he was glad he did.
"Michigan has a gorgeous university and a beautiful campus," Maurer said. "They have a lot to brag about. Coach Amaker puts time into practice. It is very rare that you see a head coach work directly with the players. It is usually the assistants that handle that, but there he was working with them, and that means a lot. Coach Amaker wants to make guys better. He is very interested in people. That is why I told Luke Michigan is a place he should consider."
As a coach that prides himself on bringing the best out of his players, Maurer is helping Babbitt look for a college coach that can do the same. With the right tutelage, he feels his star pupil could be dynamite at the next level. "Luke reminds me of Mike Dunleavy," Maurer said. "The kid has skills. He has good post moves, he has NBA range and beyond, he has a great work ethic. Luke Babbitt and Coach Tom Maurer will continue to work hard because they know there is plenty of work to be done."
Though Babbitt is still well over a year away from making a college decision, Maurer has already begun to help the youngster research the schools on his list. The no-nonsense coach made it clear that he will offer his input, but that he won't try to exert influence. "Luke will be the one to make his decision on choosing a college," Maurer said.
At the end of the day, Babbitt knows that Maurer has his best interests at heart. Because of that, Maurer's input will carry weight. "Coach Maurer is a great coach," Babbitt said. "We play hard for him he knows a lot about the game. He knows what we need individually to get better."
Rest assured with Babbitt's work ethic and coach Maurer helping him along the way, there will be plenty more attention coming the youngster's way…especially from the University of Michigan.