Ranked as one of the top high school basketball players in the country by numerous scouting services, Ebanks never reached that elite status in college, but he did develop into a versatile scorer and efficient perimeter defender, thanks to his size and mobility. Quick enough to make plays off the dribble, he had a knack for scoring in pressure situations and brought unbelievable confidence on the floor, where his grunt work around the rim saw him register 273 rebounds in 2008-09, second-most in school history by a WVU freshman.
The New York product began to receive nation attention after his sophomore year at Bishop Loughlin High School. That season, Ebanks averaged 18 points, six rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. In his junior season, at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut, he averaged 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. In his senior season, he recorded an average of 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game, scoring more than 1,000 points in his two seasons at that high school.
Ebanks received various honors while a prep player, including an invitation to play in the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Game in New York. He competed in the AAU for "Team Takeover" and was one of 30 players selected for the 2007 USA Basketball Development Festival at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. While at the camp, Ebanks averaged 28.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Ebanks ranked 11th overall and 13th overall in the class by Rivals.com and Scout.com, respectively. He was being pursued by various colleges, such as Indiana, Memphis, Rutgers and Texas as a senior and originally signed with the Indiana Hoosiers, but was released from his letter of intent after head coach Kelvin Sampson was dismissed. He later signed his letter of intent with Bob Huggins' West Virginia University.
Listed as one of the Top 15 impact freshman by Sports Illustrated coming into the 2008-2009 season, Ebanks began his campaign as a starter at small forward, but struggled early while getting acclimated to Huggins' "slow-down" system after playing in an up-and-down tempo as a prepster. He still earned Big East Conference All-Rookie team honors and was named to the league's All-Tournament team.
Ebanks averaged 10.5 points and led the team in rebounding with 7.8 boards per game, coming up with 93 of his 273 boards from the offensive glass. He added 93 assists, 25 blocks and 29 steals. Once he settled into the system, he registered 20 double-figure scoring performances and had 12 double-figure rebounding games, finishing with nine double-doubles on the season. Down the stretch, he scored in double figures in 14 of the last 16 games.
Ebanks missed the first three games of his sophomore season, as he took a leave of absence to deal with personal issues. He returned to play in 34 games, starting 31 times, as he placed third on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and led the squad with an average of 8.1 rebounds per game. He sat out the Coppin State clash with a hand bruise, but finished six double-double performances, as he scored in double figures 25 times and had at least 10 rebounds in nine contests.
On April 12, Ebanks announced that he was leaving West Virginia and had made himself available for the 2010 NBA Draft. "I have decided to enter my name into the 2010 NBA Draft," he said. "I spoke to my mother and the coaching staff, and we have decided that I should explore my options to pursue a dream that I have had since I was a little kid. I want to thank West Virginia University, my coaches, my teammates and all the great fans."
"I certainly enjoyed coaching Devin for two years," Huggins said. "He was extremely coachable and was a great teammate. We certainly wish him the best for a long and prosperous career."
Positives: Lanky forward with good athleticism, decent wingspan (7'0") and standing reach (8'11.5"), along with adequate leaping ability (32-inch vertical jump) Uses his arm length well to apply pressure on perimeter shooters and plays with good court quickness that is more suited for an up-tempo attack, rather than the slowed-down Bob Huggins version that did not really suit his playing style Times his leaps well and despite an obvious lack of power (six reps at the 185-pound bench press), he does a nice job of slipping around the bigger forwards for put-backs and dunks with his offensive rebounds (192 of 415 rebounds came from the offensive glass) Plays with good basketball IQ, using his length and lateral mobility to stay in front of the shooter and when trying to take his man off the dribble Feels that he needs to work on his ball handling skills, but he has shown good court vision to feed other teammates (176 assists in 69 games, 2.6 apg) Has the balance and body control to draw contact on the way to the basket, where he was a 73.6% shooter from the charity stripe Does a nice job of getting back down court to set up defensively and has that low center of gravity and reach to alter an opponent's shot Still a work in progress creating his shot coming off screens, but shows no hesitation firing the ball up and over a face-up defender Could be quicker with his feet in transition, but does a good job of making the most of his shooting opportunities and will not force the ball just for the sake of getting the ball off Nimble enough to find the open areas on the floor to get his shot off Better defender along the perimeter than in the paint Contorts his body and makes good adjustments shooting in tight areas Shows adequate length and arch getting his shot over the taller forwards Decent scoring in transition, and while he struggled with this shot as a sophomore, during his freshman season he showed an effective fade-away jumper when driving to the top of the key Uses his wing-span efficiently as a shot blocker and also utilizes his reach well to attack the offensive boards for the rebound Has a high release point and good ball rotation working at the free throw line.
Negatives: Has a nice fade-away shot that he's used with good success when forced out of the paint, but does need to work on a higher release point and getting the ball off from three-point range (made just 8 of 70 three-pointers during his career, 11.4%) Would have been well-advised to return to college, but is more suited for a fast-paced attack and was not utilized properly in WVU's slow-down system Might scare away a few teams with his sophomore year leave of absence (missed the first three games for personal reasons) Needs to add considerable bulk to his rail-thin frame and his obvious lack of strength will cause him to have problems executing an inside game at the next level Touted for his athleticism coming out of college, at times he looks lethargic on the court and there were no obvious signs of his acclaimed explosiveness during his two seasons at WVU and he then clocked a pedestrian 3.44 in the 3/4-court sprint at the Chicago pre-draft camp Hailed as a quality perimeter shooter, his renowned struggles executing his shot from three-point range are evidence that he is not that type of athlete Needs to develop his mid-range jumper to play small forward in the NBA Seems to be going through the motions at times and while teams are not really questioning his courage, his lack of aggressiveness is a concern Not that effective creating his own shot, as most of his scoring seems to come from put-backs off the offensive glass Appeared to have lost confidence in his mid-range game the second half of last season, as he more often settled for garbage put-backs or scoring off broken plays Has to be more combative driving to the basket, as defenders had great success pushing him back last year (fails to finish after contact and had balance issues when trying to shoot on the move) Very predictable shooter who rarely goes to his off-hand (left) With marginal lower-body strength, he is not going to win battles at the defensive boards.
Compares To: CORY BREWER, Minnesota -- Like Brewer, Ebanks is strictly a role player. He needs to be in an up-tempo attack to feel comfortable with his game, but I doubt if he has the explosiveness needed to be effective on the NBA fast break. He seems to lack confidence as a perimeter shooter (made 8 of 70 three-pointers) and with that fragile-looking frame and obvious lack of power, he is going to have huge problems getting his inside game going vs. the more physical forwards at the next level. To me, he looks like D-League material, but for some reason, teams like Minnesota and Memphis are looking at him to add small forward depth. Whoever told this kid he could be a lottery pick sold him a pack of goods.
--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas
All-Big East Conference third-team selection Started 31 of 34 games, missing the first three contests while taking a leave of absence due to personal reasons Sat out the Coppin State clash with a hand bruise Finished third on the team in scoring with 408 points (12.0 ppg), hitting on 144 of 315 field goals (45.7%), just 3 of 30 three-pointers and 117 of 152 free throws (77.0%) Led the team with 275 rebounds (8.1 rpg), including 99 offensive boards Added 83 assists, 23 blocked shots and 36 steals Charged with 75 turnovers and 54 personal fouls Scored in double figures 25 times, had at least 10 rebounds in 10 contests and produced six double-double performances Named Big East Player of the Week (12/28) and to the league's Weekly Honor Roll (2/22) Selected the USBWA's Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for his outings vs. Ole Miss and Seton Hall.
Ebanks' 273 rebounds in 2008-09 rank as the second-best season total by a West Virginia freshman Registered 17 rebounds in back-to-back December games (vs. Cleveland State and Davidson), becoming the first Mountaineer freshman to grab 17 or more rebounds in consecutive games, and was also the first WVU player to accomplish that feat since Maurice Robinson (1977) In his next game, Ebanks recorded 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win at Duquesne to become just the second freshman to record three straight double-double games, joining Warren Baker (1973). He also became the first Mountaineer player since Calvin Bowman (2001) to post three consecutive double-double games In 2009, Ebanks became just the third WVU player to have 22 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists in a game (vs. Seton Hall). The others were Rod Hundley (24-26-9 vs. VMI on 1/09/56) and Rod Thorn (25-17-7 vs. VMI on 1/31/61) Became just the fourth Mountaineer to earn Big East Conference All-Rookie Team honors (2008-09).
SUMMER LEAGUE: Received various honors while a prep player, including an invitation to play in the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Game in New York One of 30 players selected for the 2007 USA Basketball Development Festival at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo While at the camp, Ebanks averaged 28.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game Also played AAU basketball for Team Takeover.
Attended Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) High School during his first two prep years As a sophomore, Ebanks averaged 18 points, six rebounds and 1.3 assists per game In his junior season, at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut, he averaged 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals In his senior season, he recorded an average of 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game, scoring more than 1,000 points in his two seasons at that high school Ranked 11th overall and 13th overall in the class by Rivals.com and Scout.com, respectively.
Athletic Coaching Education major Son of Yvonne Jackson and Hubert Ebanks Born 10/28/89 Resides in Long Island, New York.
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