Devin Ebanks Starting to Make His Mark at West Virginia

Michael CarvelliContributor IDecember 10, 2008

On Nov. 14 of last year, highly-touted recruit Devin Ebanks had just made his decision to continue his basketball career for coach Kelvin Sampson at Indiana University. However, almost five months and a few NCAA violations later, Sampson was forced to resign as the Hoosiers' basketball coach.

Shortly after this, Ebanks decommitted and began to visit other schools to find out exactly where it was that he would be playing in the 2008-09 season. In April, Ebanks began visiting the schools highest on his list.

On April 11, the 6'9" forward made his first visit, to West Virginia University. Two weeks after that, he made his visit to Texas and in May visited Rutgers and national runners-up Memphis.

West Virginia assistant coach Larry Harrison told the Charleston Daily Mail that being the first school the recruit visited concerned the entire coaching staff. "We were the first of four visits," Harrison said, "and we asked ourselves, 'Five weeks from now, is this kid going to remember us?'"

After the visit to Morgantown, coach Bob Huggins and the rest of the Mountaineer coaches made the most of the two phone calls they were allowed to make every week. Huggins would call every Thursday, before he went on his next visit, and one of the assistants would make the other call on Monday right after he got back from the visit.

Then on May 18, the number nine recruit in the nation, according to, made his announcement that he would be playing for the Mountaineers during halftime of the IS8 Spring Classic championship game in South Jamaica, NY.

Once in Morgantown, he was put on a weight program for the first time in his life. Ebanks, who was 185 pounds in his senior year of high school, entered his freshman year at 205 pounds.

On Oct. 12, Ebanks electrified the crowd at West Virginia's Mountaineer Madness, easily winning the dunk contest against teammate Will Thomas.

The regular season did not start out as well for the freshman, as he struggled in his first few games in a West Virginia uniform, averaging just 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds through the first six games of the season.

In the past week, however, Devin Ebanks has shown WVU fans the kind of player that he has the potential to be. On Saturday, Ebanks scored 10 points and pulled down 17 rebounds for his first career double-double against Cleveland State.

Last night in the Jimmy V Classic, Ebanks had another huge night, this one on the national stage against a ranked opponent. The freshman earned his second straight double-double, scoring 13 points and once again grabbing 17 rebounds in WVU's 68-65 loss to Stephen Curry and Davidson.

Ebanks has high goals for the Mountaineers this season, and he is also proving that he can be a key factor, not just this season, but hopefully for the next three seasons as well.

“A Big East championship is what we want,” he said. “From there we want to get to the tournament and hopefully do some things and get to the Final Four. That’s our main goal."