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Babineaux headed to Drake to play basketball

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Kori Babineaux was a multi-sport star at Folsom High, starring on the varsity basketball team for his first three years and the varsity football team as a junior and senior. As a junior, Babineaux averaged 19 points a game for Folsom High?s basketball team and clearly saw himself playing basketball in college. Less than a year later after helping the football team win a Division II state football championship as a senior, a season in which he caught 52 passes for 905 yards and 14 touchdowns, Babineaux decided that football would be the sport he would play in college as the scholarship offers came in. Babineaux, 18, believed he?d be playing football so much so that he didn?t play basketball his senior year, instead focusing on lifting weights, doing football workouts and otherwise enjoying the rest of his senior year. Funny thing is, though, Babineaux never accepted a football scholarship and it?s good that he didn?t. Before the basketball season even ended, Babineaux realized that he had missed playing the sport which was his first love. With his previous basketball scholarships offers already taken, Babineaux was encouraged to check out a prep school and he ended up at Lake Forest Academy in Chicago. The hope would be that Babineaux would excel and basically get a second chance to accept a basketball scholarship. Babineaux, a 6-foot, 4-inch, 205-pound combo guard, took advantage of his opportunity at Lake Forest, averaging 27 points per game to go along with six assists, five rebounds and three steals and received scholarship offers from Drake, St. Mary?s Cincinnati, Loyola and Oregon State. Last month Babineaux accepted a full ride to Drake, which is a Division I school in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference along with Wichita State, Creighton, Illinois State and Northern Iowa, among others. ?I liked a lot of things about Drake,? Babineaux said. ?The location was a surprise for me. When I think of Iowa I just think dry, open fields, but Drake is two minutes down the road from Des Moines (pop. 203,000), which is like a mini-Chicago. The location is awesome. I met a lot of people that I liked and Drake is one of the best business schools in the country and that?s huge for me because I?ll be majoring in marketing. After talking with one of the head professors there, Drake is perfect for me.? Babineaux?s dad, Joseph, is obviously happy for his son. ?In hindsight, at the end of the day, I?m happy because he got to choose where he wanted to go,? Joseph said. ?Staying at a prep school for a year, it?s also like a trial run at college, so he got an opportunity to get acclimated to that lifestyle. One thing he liked about Drake is that they told him he?s going to get an opportunity to be ?the guy? there and I know Kori likes to be a leader and carry a team.? The year at Lake Forest proved to be good for Babineaux, as he excelled on the court. ?I had a few pretty good games, scoring 48 points in one game,? Babineaux said. ?There?s not a huge difference between basketball in Chicago compared to California, but I think it?s a little bit better in California. The basketball part wasn?t too hard of an adjustment, but the weather was brutal. I?d never really seen snow like I did in Chicago. I really enjoyed Lake Forest. It broadened my horizons.? Out of Folsom High, Babineaux was closed to accepting a football scholarship to San Diego State, but when their coach, Brady Hoke, left for Michigan after the 2010 season, Babineaux began to waver. ?I thought about my other options like Iowa State, Colorado State and Eastern Washington, but then I realized that I missed basketball a little too much,? Babineaux said. ?Basketball has always been my first love.?