So I showed up a little late to the tailgate party this Saturday and a couple of the people asked where were you? I said well I headed down to the Davalos Dome to check out 6-8 175 lbs Devin Ebanks of St. Thomas More School in Connecticut who made an un-official visit to the University of New Mexico this weekend along with his mother Yvonne Jackson.
Devin Ebanks meets the Albuquerque media
When I first got to the Davalos Basketball Center Devin was talking with the academic advisor about the university and school. No, not just basketball was discussed during Devin's visit. School is also a priority for this young man as his mother who recently had Devin reclassified and moved to St. Thomas More Prep School in Connecticut to make sure Devin takes care of business in the classroom. In a story on the scout.com network last month Yvonne Jackson who is a corrections officer at Riker's Island in New York was quoted as saying "This was a decision we made for Devin," Yvonne, said. "It was made for academics." Yvonne was also quoted as saying "If he doesn't do what he needs to do off the court, it doesn't matter what he does on the court." There is no pulling the wool over this mothers eyes she sees some of the hardest and most conniving men in the world and wants what is best for her son.
You would think that most young men wouldn't want their mother involved with this, but Devin a self-proclaimed momma's boy Devin said, "Me and moms are tight. We are best friends." I asked Devin how do you keep humble with all these schools converging upon you wanting you to come to their school, telling you you're the greatest player in the world? "When it comes to stuff like that I ask my mother and she helps me out a lot with her life experience," replied Ebanks. So is she going to be a big part in helping you choose a school? "She is a big part of my decision," answered Devin.
So the next logical question would be how serious is Devin Ebanks about the University of New Mexico. We aren't talking a project type player here. Devin has already been ranked by Scout.com network has named him as the top 14th best player for 2008, he has schools on his list like St. John's, Rutgers, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, and Purdue just to name a few on his list. So really does this young man from New York have a serious interest in UNM?
Well 1st of all Devin came out to Albuquerque on his dime. This was an unofficial visit so the university didn't pay for it Devin did. 2nd of all, I had him there so why not ask Devin if he was interested in UNM? "I'm taking it (UNM and his visit to Albuquerque) very serious they are one of the 1st schools to talk to me and look at me as a D-I basketball player," said Devin. "I'm a big believer in taking a look at the school that was the 1st to really recruited me."
But come on Devin I'm sure back home all the fellas will be like New Mexico? Why did you go out there? "Nobody from back home knows that I'm out here yet," said Devin. "I'm sure you guys will put it on the internet and I'll tell them that New Mexico was the 1st school to recruit me and I wanted to see the school." Devin also went on to say, "I think the coaching staff is a great group of guys they have been recruiting me since the start and I respect that."
Members of the television media were at the Davalos Dome as well and one asked if Devin had a top 10 list yet and if New Mexico was in it. Devin responded with, "I'm wide open right now and have a lot of schools looking at me. I would put New Mexico in as one of the schools I would be interested in."
I asked Coach Larry McGuggins about Devin's game and here is what he had to say.
"Devin is a perimeter player that shoots the 3 at 6'81/2 can put it on the floor. Very athletic very long all legs and arms, can see the floor well can play in the post. Most important thing is he is a team player and not selfish." Coach McGuggins went on to say, "People don't realize he is 16 he doesn't turn 17 till November. He has always competed with players 3-4 years older then him so he will make an impact in college."
Both Coach McGuggins and Devin agree that he has to work on getting stronger the next 2 years of school. Most of that will be because of hard work and part of that will be the natural maturation of a 16 year old young man, as he gets older.
Devin of course met many Lobo fans as he took a tour of not only The Pit which he says he has heard a lot about and has watched Lobo games on ESPN, but also the Davalos Center and of course watched part of the Lobo football team take on the Missouri Tigers. As he was touring the stadium and facilities he ended up in the Red Menace Zone where he received a warm welcome from New Mexico's wildest and crazy fans.
There is roughly 14 months till Devin can sign a letter of intent with the college of his choice and he will be visited, called by, and text messaged by plenty of coaches in the near future. His mother said, "she could see her son playing out here." And Devin says he hopes to be "recruited hard" by New Mexico as he takes them very seriously…