Eye of the storm (cont.)
Posted: Thursday February 14, 2008 12:03PM; Updated: Friday February 15, 2008 12:10PM
On Wednesday, Ebanks did not receive a phone call from Sampson or the staff about the latest list of allegations handed down by the NCAA, which also includes Ebanks' name as a recipient of impermissible calls. Instead, they heard second hand from various news accounts. "Right now we still have yet to make a decision," said Jackson, who also cooperated with the NCAA's investigation, on Thursday morning. "Obviously this is more serious than ever before, but we'll have to talk with the coaches and wait to see if Devin will re-open his recruitment." (Since he signed a Letter of Intent, Ebanks' would need to be released from his letter by Indiana in order to be able to play right away should he decide to go to another school.)
Navigating the recruiting process has not been easy for Ebanks, but neither has his journey through high school. The 18-year-old small forward, who runs the floor well and has range on his jumper, has traveled a circuitous path to being an Indiana signee. From being hyped as the potentially next big thing from New York to his current status as the No. 5 player in the SI/Takkle.com Top 25 player rankings, he has improved on the court.
Though Ebanks enjoyed success in his 2 ½ years at Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn, he also continued to get in trouble. By spring break of his junior year, he was kicked out of Loughlin for a growing list of transgressions. "He certainly displayed acts of immaturity while here," Loughlin coach Khalid Green said. "Talent was never the question."
Ebanks finished his junior year at the Patterson School in Lenore, N.C. His stay down south turned out to be no more than a two-month stint as his mother, who is a 12-year veteran corrections officer on Riker's Island, decided he would return north. After visiting Saint Thomas More, she felt the discipline and secluded location of the school would offer him his best chance at maturation. "Ours is a school where you can set your bags down and move on from your past," Saint Thomas More coach Jere Quinn said.
Before unpacking, Ebanks reclassified his academic status in order to repeat his junior year in 2006. After first bucking at the all-boys school's restrictions, he assimilated to the new culture, performed well on the court and recently scored a 1,030 on the SAT. Questions were raised again in December, though, when he spent an extra week away from the school before Christmas break, which Quinn said was for non-basketball reasons. "I decided a few days to straighten some things out would keep things in perspective for the future," Quinn said.
Before the NCAA's allegations were released, Ebanks and his mother were discussing his summer plans. Jackson said Sampson had mentioned he could help Ebanks find a job. There was also a Team USA event Sampson wanted him to participate in. With the revelation of possible further sanctions against Indiana (and the fact that Sampson could lose his job), though, those summer plans, as well as his college destination, may soon change. "We really were not expecting this news," Jackson said. "We haven't spoken with the coaches. We're just waiting on a call now."
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