The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

June 1, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN - Ebanks now putting NBA career on hold

MORGANTOWN — Now that the NBA Finals are set and the dream matchup of Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James failed to materialize, perhaps the biggest disappointment since the NCAA Final showdown between West Virginia University’s Jerry West and Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson fizzled 50 years earlier, it is time to reflect upon something far more relevant to us at this place in time.

That would be Devin Ebanks.

Anyone who saw Ebanks grow through the second half of his WVU freshman season understands that while he may be taking sophomore classes this upcoming season he will be playing senior basketball, for he showed himself to be riding the NBA Express.

There was, of course, some speculation that Ebanks might jump to the NBA after his freshman year, speculation that if not insane was inane.

“It wasn’t even an issue,” coach Bob Huggins said this week while visiting the Glade Springs Resort on a Mountaineer Athletic Club fundraiser. “I don’t know how people get that information. Devin never thought about leaving.”

Now next year might be a different story.

Even before this year’s NBA draft has been held, there are publications holding mock drafts for next year, which is an exercise in utter insanity, considering that the order of picks isn’t determined until after the season.

If you want to know why they do it, there can be only one answer: Because they can., which must stand for Sports, lists Ebanks as the No. 13 pick of the first round.

Being thought of that highly certainly is a mind-altering experience, if not an ego-altering experience.

In some ways, Huggins and West Virginia’s faithful must consider themselves terribly fortunate that Ebanks came along when he did. Five years ago and he well might have been tempted to jump directly from high school to the NBA, even though he wasn’t physically ready to bang bodies with the big boys or mentally ready to deal with the daily grind and the ups and downs of the play-for-pay bunch.

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Bob Herzel
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