Babbitt Nevada Player of the Year

Galena High's Luke Babbitt has won every honor a Nevada high school basketball player can win. And now he's taken the state's top honor twice.

In a development that came as no surprise, Babbitt was named as the Gatorade Nevada Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season. Babbitt is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, which is also presented in partnership with RISE Magazine. The National Player of the Year will be announced in March.

"Another honor for Luke," Galena coach Tom Maurer said. "This gives him everything. There's no other award in Nevada."

The Gatorade Award isn't just given for performance on the floor, but for performance in the classroom and exemplary character demonstrated off the floor as well.

Babbitt, who will play for the University of Nevada next season, maintains a 3.91 grade point average. He participates in numerous community-service initiatives as a member of the Reno Christian Fellowship youth group and serves as a youth basketball instructor for the AAU Reno Ballers.

"I'm very honored," said Babbitt about the award. "I was really excited when I found out and thankful that I got it."

Babbitt earned Gatorade State Player of the Year award after leading Galena to the NIAA 4A State title last season. He earned the award again this year after leading the Grizzlies to the Northern 4A semifinals where they lost to Douglas.

Babbitt averaged 31 points, 13 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks a game. He became the state's all-time leading scorer, finishing with 2,941 points.

"He's the total complete player," Maurer said. "He's a nightmare for the other team and he can create a real mismatch out there. He really brings the whole package - great ball handling, tremendous work ethic.

"He's got that 11:30-at-night kind of work ethic that I really like. He's just an unbelievable package."

And of course there's still the highest honor there is, being named as a McDonald's All-American and playing in the McDonald's All-American Game. The game will be televised live on ESPN this Wednesday from Milwaukee, Wis., at 5:30 p.m.

Babbitt will leave for the game on Saturday and will practice Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. "He's worked extremely hard for the McDonald's game," Maurer said.

"I've been working hard, playing ever since we lost to Douglas to get ready for it," Babbitt said.

While Babbitt said he "always wants to play well," he admitted, "this is a pretty big game. Hopefully it goes well. It's always about going out and having a good time."

Babbitt also said he can't wait to play for Nevada. "It was a great four years here," he said. "I'm definitely ready to move on."


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