Written by: Andrew Sinatra
Follow Devin on Twitter – @DevinEbanks3
Devin Ebanks was born October 28, 1989 in the New York City borough of Queens. Like Lamar Odom, Ebanks spent part of his high school career in New York before transferring to a school in Connecticut. Like both Odom and Metta World Peace, Ebanks possesses a wingspan of over seven feet that has helped make him a versatile contributor during his basketball career.
Coming out of St. Thomas More School in 2008, Ebanks was ranked 11th overall among high school players by Rivals.com and 13th by Scout.com. In his two years at the University of West Virginia, Ebanks was a consistent producer for the Mountaineers. During his freshman year, Ebanks was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team and he earned a spot on the Big East All-Tournament Team as his production improved over the course of the season. Ebanks was a force on the glass in the physical conference, averaging 7.8 rebounds–including a career-high 18 against Notre Dame in the 2009 Big East Tournament.
In his sophomore year, the Mountaineers won their first 11 games of the season and finished as the class of the Big East with a tournament championship. Ebanks scored in double figures each game of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, as the Mountaineers secured only the second Final Four appearance in school history before falling to eventual national champion, Duke University. The 2009-2010 Mountaineers’ 31 wins is a school record. Ebanks declared for the 2010 NBA Draft following his strong showing. He was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 43rd overall pick–a pick the Lakers acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in the same trade that landed Pau Gasol in Los Angeles. Ebanks’ first professional season was largely uneventful, as he played in only 20 games and averaged less than six minutes per game, spending time in the Developmental League with the Bakersfield Jam. Ebanks was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left tibia in March 2011, effectively ending his rookie campaign.
Ebanks entered the 2011-2012 season with a new role as the starting small forward under new head coach Mike Brown. While this would not last, Ebanks’ minutes increased, as he averaged over 16 minutes in the 24 games he played during the shortened season. His biggest professional exposure came following the ejection and subsequent suspension of Metta World Peace after the forward delivered an elbow to the head of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden during a late-season contest. Ebanks played an unexpected, but pivotal role in that game–holding the league’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant, to 5-19 shooting in the fourth quarter and two ensuing overtime periods of a Laker win. Ebanks’ increased role continued into the playoffs in lieu of World Peace, as one Queens native replaced the other, starting six of the seven first-round games against the Denver Nuggets, which included a 12-point performance in the first game.
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