RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Devin EbanksPosted by rtmsf on June 14th, 2010
Player Name: Devin Ebanks
School: West Virginia
Height/Weight: 6’8, 208
NBA Position: Small Forward
Projected Draft Range: Late 1st round
Overview: Devin Ebanks’ value to the Final Four-qualifying West Virginia Mountaineers can’t necessarily be valued in points scored. The former Indiana commit was an important cog in the stellar Mountaineer defensive attack that vaulted Bob Huggins’ team to lofty heights during Ebanks’ final campaign. There were games where Ebanks’ mid-range jumper and soft touch around the basket contributed in the scoring column, prime examples being his 15 points in a home win over Georgetown, 19 points in a squeaker over Marquette and even 20+ point displays against the soft defenses of Providence and Seton Hall. There were also a handful of contests in which Ebanks simply could not be relied on to provide scoring punch, including five single-digit outputs in Big East play and even an embarrassing 19-minute donut in a discouraging road loss to Notre Dame. Ebanks’ rebounding capacity (8.1 per game), long wingspan, defensive prowess and gifted passing ability were certainly vital components of a wildly successful season in Morgantown, but if any NBA team is searching for a consistent scoring thump from the enigmatic Ebanks, they may need to search elsewhere late in the first round. Teams working out Ebanks likely fell in love with those secondary (albeit just as important to a winning cause) skills, giving the 6’8 Long Island native enough assurance of a first round selection that his final two campaigns in Morgantown were deemed unnecessary.
Will Translate to the NBA: There’s plenty that Ebanks brings to the table for any NBA squad. He’s truly one of the most gifted rebounders we’ve seen in the Big East in the last five years. His body and strength fail to overpower, but Ebanks has a knack for reading misses and exploding off the floor to snatch the rebound, especially for second chance opportunities. Ebanks averaged around eight rebounds per game in each of his two seasons at West Virginia and that incredible wingspan makes the task undoubtedly easier. Ebanks has a chance to thrive in a more up-tempo system because of his prowess in transition. His athleticism and gazelle-like strides in the open floor often conclude in powerful dunks or accurate pull-up short jumpers. We could see his mid-range game developing into a weapon in the next 4-5 years. His mechanics are sound, the elevation is evident and Ebanks is already a 75% free throw shooter. Since West Virginia’s offense is largely based on cutting rather than penetration, Ebanks was able to show his passing gifts on more than one occasion last season. He can also be a versatile defender that shuts down a scoring small forward or utilizes his wingspan/athleticism to contain bigger power forwards.
Needs Work: Just ask any West Virginia diehard who followed Ebanks during his two seasons in yellow and blue: it’s impossible to tell what you’re getting from Ebanks on any given night from a scoring perspective. Scouts will have a difficult time determining where Ebanks really succeeds on that end of the floor. He has no reliable go-to move, lacks the ball control to penetrate effectively and gives the defense nothing to respect on a shot with any range. Most of his points and shot attempts in college were a result of offensive rebounds or broken garbage plays, and even with that he only averaged just above nine FG attempts per game as a sophomore. Just ask Ron Artest whether a small forward in the NBA needs to have at least a somewhat respectable outside jump shot in his arsenal. Ebanks is a fantastic free throw shooter but rarely is able to draw fouls because of his complete lack of individual offensive capabilities. He absolutely must learn how to take defenders off the dribble and add some strength to finish through contact at the rim. Character is also a mild concern as Ebanks was suspended early in the 2009-10 season by Huggins.
Comparison Players: Although Ronnie Brewer is a bit shorter, we see a lot of his game in Devin Ebanks. Both are likely forever destined to playing a secondary role in the NBA and have certain discernable skills that should keep them in the league. Both players are abominable outside shooters but make up for that negative with outstanding defense on the other end. They’re also athletic and Ebanks even played point-forward on a handful of occasions at West Virginia.
Best Case Scenario: We wouldn’t rule out Ebanks molding into a quality NBA starter. Even though he’s only 20 years old, his ceiling isn’t that of a potential All-Star. From outside shooting to ball handling to consistency, there’s too many holes in his game to project a future of accolades. Still, he can become a reliable starter in the league by utilizing his strengths — rebounding and defense — and making progress on his weaknesses. Whether Ebanks has the drive and commitment to make these strides is a question yet to be answered.
2013 Projection: We want to project green pastures for Ebanks, but we’re far from convinced he can become a contributing performer in the pros, especially if he lands on a fast-paced team that depends on penetration-and-kick basketball and needs their small forward to have a credible jumper in his game. We’ll also see if Ebanks can continue to play plus defense. He needs to add upper body strength and was often bullied by bulkier college power forwards. His rebounding and versatility should keep him at the end of an NBA rotation in three years.
Best NBA Fit: There are plenty of teams near the bottom of the first round that could be a viable fit for Ebanks. A team like the Spurs at #20 could appreciate Ebanks’ defensive capabilities enough to draft him, and we know they’ve been linked to Texas’ Damion James in the past, a small forward that has a somewhat similar skill set. The Nets at #27 or Grizzles at #28 are two teams that could be interested if Ebanks fell to their spots. Falling to the second round also isn’t out of the question.