Luke Babbitt to enter NBA Draft |

Luke Babbitt to enter NBA Draft

RENO . – Nevada sophomore forward Luke Babbitt has decided to enter the 2010 NBA, he and Wolf Pack head coach David Carter announced Tuesday afternoon.

“After a lot of praying, gathering information and talking to my family and coaches, I have made the decision to hire an agent and enter the 2010 NBA Draft,” Babbitt said. “The two years I have spent at Nevada and the 12 years I have spent living in the Reno community as a Wolf Pack fan have been unbelievable, yet I feel like now is the best time to move forward with my lifelong dream of playing professional basketball.

“This was not an easy decision for me. I will always be grateful for the opportunities Nevada has given me. I loved being a part of this team and community, and I will continue to support the University and Coach Carter. I will greatly miss my teammates, coaches and our loyal fans, and I want to sincerely thank everyone for their support, both on and off the court. I hope that you will continue to root for me as I take this next step in my life.”

A 6-9, 225-pound sophomore from Reno, Babbitt was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and an honorable-mention All-American by the Associated Press this year. He also became the first men’s basketball student-athlete in Nevada history to be named an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, earning second-team honors.

A two-time first-team All-WAC selection and all-district honoree by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the United States Basketball Writers Association, Babbitt led the Wolf Pack in scoring and rebounding in each of his two seasons at Nevada. In 2009-10, he ranked second in the WAC and ninth in the NCAA with 21.9 points and second in the league and 51st in the nation with 8.9 rebounds per contest. Babbitt also broke the school single-season scoring record with 743 points in 2009-10 and became just the eighth player in school history to reach 1,000 points in two seasons.

He led the WAC and checked in at third in the nation in free throw shooting at 91.7 percent (199-217) this year and broke Nevada’s single-season records for free throws made (199) as well as free throw percentage. He also set the school record for consecutive free throws made, knocking down his final 34 free throw attempts of the season.

Babbitt ends his Wolf Pack career ranked 12th on Nevada career scoring list with 1,316 points and is also first in career free throw shooting at 89.3 percent (351-393) and fifth in career three-point percentage at 42.1 percent (75-178). He started all 68 games over the last two years and scored in double figures in 59 of those 68 contests. In his Wolf Pack career, Babbitt averaged 19.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

“Luke has been contemplating the decision to return to a university and community he loves and to pursue his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA, and the decision has been very difficult for him to make,” Carter said. “Luke is a special combination of an outstanding basketball player and an excellent student who will be greatly missed. We want to wish him the best as he follows his dreams.”

The 2010 NBA Draft will be held on June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York.