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Q&A With Luke Babbitt

09/03/10
  1. Written by: caseyholdahl  / avg. rating: 5.0



    It's been a busy summer for Luke Babbitt. After being selected with the 16th pick in the 2010 draft, the rookie out of Nevada has spent time bounced around the globe before finally settling down in the Portland area this week.

    Casey Holdahl of trailblazers.com caught up with Babbitt after a workout with Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Elliot Williams and Armon Johnson at the Trail Blazers' practice facility to talk about what he's been up to since averaging 14.2 points and 3.8 rebounds during the Las Vegas Summer League.

    Casey Holdahl: How has your summer been since summer league?

    Luke Babbitt: It's just been busy. A lot of travel. Just working hard, preparing for the season.

    Casey Holdahl: You went to Taiwan, right?

    Luke Babbitt: I did. Played in a charity game. Got to play with some good players, do some stuff for charity and raise a little money. My agent is also Yao Ming's agent. Yao has a foundation and he was playing in some charity games, hosting some charity games trying to raise money for his foundation. He invited me over along with Brandon Jennings, Amir Johnson, Baron Davis, Steve Nash. It seemed like a good thing to do. It was my first time over. It was a great experiance.

    Casey Holdahl: What was it like playing with guys like Steve Nash and Brandon Jennings?

    Luke Babbitt: That was one of the great thing about going over there was getting to see some of the best players first-hand, what their offseasons are like and how they prepare. I got to get in a couple of workout with them. That was a great experience.

    Casey Holdahl: Outside of Taiwan, where did you spend most of your time this offseason?

    Luke Babbitt: After summer league I went home to Reno, got healthy and started to work out again. I went to Vegas for Grgurich's camp with a lot of the other rookies and sophomores. Basically just been working out in Reno ever since, preparing for the season.

    Casey Holdahl: What was bothering you?

    Luke Babbitt: My achillies. I took about two weeks off for that. Just wanted to make sure I got healthy before I started training. Then I went to the Grgrich camp in Vegas and have been going hard ever since. Then it's just been getting in great shape. Training camp, the season, preseason then the season. It's longer than anything us rookies have ever experienced, so we've got to be in better shape than we ever have been.

    Casey Holdahl: So are you staying in Portland now?

    Luke Babbitt: Yeah, I'm here for good. I got an apartment here. I moved up on Saturday, drove up from Reno, moved in Saturday night and I've been here this whole week at the practice facility.

    Casey Holdahl: Is there anything in particular that you've been working on?

    Luke Babbitt: Just everything, but most importantly just getting stronger, getting in great shape, working on the things I'll need to do to help this team. Learn all the little things, the nuances of the game at this level. But most of all just trying to get in the best shape possible.

    Casey Holdahl: What did you take away from the Grg's camp? I was under the impression that it was a big man camp.

    Luke Babbitt: There were a lot of great guards there. It's for everyone. They do a great job with the big guys but there's a lot of point guards there too. It was great getting to see some of the other players in the league. There were some established players there like Richard Jefferson, James Harden, some guys who are good non-rookie players. It was good seeing them workout, learning from them. A lot of the other assistant coaches from around the league were there and some guys that had been head coaches like Mike Brown were there teaching. It's always a good experience when you can get that kind of coaching from NBA personnel.

    Casey Holdahl: I assume you were at the Rookie Transitions program as well.

    Luke Babbitt: It was good. Got to learn some things that are going to come our way. Spent three days in the classroom. It was a good camp for us rookies to learn a little bit about what NBA life is going to be like.

    Casey Holdahl: Elliot was saying it was fun to get together with the rest of the rookies.

    Luke Babbitt: Yeah, a lot of us know each other from playing through the years in high school, AAU, college. It was good seeing the rest of the rookie class. I got to meet Wesley Matthews out there and Armon and Elliot were obviously out there. It was just a good chance to be around all the guys.

    Casey Holdahl: What did you think of your performance at summer league now that you've had a little time to reflect on it?

    Luke Babbitt: It was great being around Coach Kaleb, Coach Bayno, Coach Larry. That system we ran is going to be similar to what we'll run this year, so it was good to get a head start and pick up some little things that are going to be in our system that we'll need to know. Just playing the NBA-style basketball games was good. We got five games in, probably 10 to 12 practices. So the whole thing was good, just a good experience. We went 4-1, so that's never bad.

    Casey Holdahl: How has this offseason been different from years prior?

    Luke Babbitt: I would say it's probably shorter. From when our college season ended, we had the predraft workouts, predraft camps, then the draft. Then you've got a little time before summer league and then a month or so until we started working out (at the practice facility). There hasn't been as much downtime, so it's important to get all your work in when you can and that's why we're all here now preparing for the season, working on our weaknesses, working on getting better.

    Casey Holdahl: What is a typical day like for you now?

    Luke Babbitt: On Monday's and Wednesday's we'll do some conditioning, then hit the weights, do some drills on the court then play pickup. Hit a little bit of everything. Then on Tuesday's and Thursday's we don't do conditioning but we lift, do some drills, then play. It's a good day of basketball. We get in a little bit of anything: weights, on court stuff and games. It's all a good experience.

    Casey Holdahl: What are you picking up playing with guys like LaMarcus and Brandon?

    Luke Babbitt: Yeah, it's good to see their routines in the offseason, see what they like doing. Everyone has a different routine kind of but I like picking up small things from veterans like that. Those guys are the best around, so watching them, watching the little things they do and how they carry themselves around here, it's all a valuable experience for us rookies.

    Casey Holdahl: You running just one time a day or are you coming back in at night?

    Luke Babbitt: Guys come back in at night to get extra shots up. That's part of this being a job now. We don't have other things to take up our time like studying for tests or doing homework. It's a good opportunity to come in at night, shoot, get some ball handling in or maybe something that you didn't do as much of during the day.

    Casey Holdahl: You don't have as much downtime, but when you do, are you finding yourself doing anything out here in town in between workouts?

    Luke Babbitt: This first week has been kind of busy for me, getting all my utilities set up, making sure the lights are turning on, got some cable TV. That's been this first week. Still have to get my car registered in Oregon and get an Oregon license. But after that there's going to be some downtime, so I figure I'll go see Portland a bit. Maybe go downtown or whatever because mostly we're here in Tualatin. There's definitely going to be some downtime to do whatever, see Portland.

    Casey Holdahl: Last question: What are the Wolfpack looking like in football this year?

    Luke Babbitt: They've got their first game tonight against Eastern Washington, so we'll find out. I'm thinking it should be at least a 20-point win.

    (Ed. note: Nevada beat Eastern Washington 49-24 to finish well within Babbitt's 20-point prediction.)

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