Close Call, Many Fits

West Virginia won a narrow recruiting battle for Devin Ebanks, according to his AAU coach.

"It was close," said Lawrence McGuggins, who has known and coached Ebanks since he was seven years old. "I think the edge might have been a little bit in what he was looking for. He wanted the chance for playing time, and the chance to be a focal point of a team. It was much the same as what is was at Indiana."

Ebanks, who originally committed to the Hoosiers, decommitted from that school after the departure of Kelvin Sampson due to NCAA violations. He then undertook a four-team tour, traveling to West Virginia, Texas, Rutgers and Memphis before choosing the Mountaineers on Sunday.

The New York native, who played at Thomas More School in Connecticut, is a Scout.com five-star prospect who was rated as the number four small forward in the country. However, he could play any number of positions, according to McGuggins.

"He could go anywhere from a one to a four," McGuggins noted. "He just has the natural skills to play any of them. He shoots the ball well, and handles it well. He's probably more like a two or a three, but he could play any of them."

As a national-level prospect that has been in the spotlight for a long time, Ebanks likely won't feel any pressure to perform right off the bat, even though all eyes will certainly be on him when WVU begins practice this fall. Or, at least in the opinion of his coach, he won't be bothered by it.

"Hands down, I think he can go in and [perform]," McGuggins said. "He just has an offensive knack. He can score around the basket, he can shoot from the outside, and he has the handle on the ball to drive to the hoop. To me, he's like a Rudy Gay or a Kevin Durant. He's just a very skilled player who causes problems with his size and his ability."

Although McGuggins spotted Ebanks' talent early on, he didn't anticipate that he'd reach these heights.

"I never knew he'd be 6-9," McGuggins said. "I knew he would be a high major, but never knew how good he was going to be. He showed a lot of perimeter skills, and that is something that we emphasize in our program. We train them on how to play on the perimeter. Other people might have stuck him down low, because of his height, and he might never have reached his potential. But we work on perimeter play with everyone, and give them drills to work on on their own."


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