I spoke to Devin Ebanks, a 6-8 junior wing forward from the St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Conn., ranked No. 10 in the Class of 2008 by Scout, to get the latest on his summer and college plans, and here are some highlights from that conversation.
*Asked about comparisons between himself and former Texas standout Kevin Durant, who is projected to be the first or second pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Ebanks said: "You could basically say I'm a smaller Kevin Durant."
*Ebanks has a busy summer planned because he was invited to the USA Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 20-24. From there, Ebanks will attend the Nike-sponsored Vince Carter Wing Forward Academy in Orlando June 25-28, followed by the LeBron James US Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio July 6-10.
Dexter Strickland, the sophomore guard from St. Patrick, was also invited to the Youth Development Festival and to the Nike Academies. Strickland will attend the Steve Nash Academy at Kean University in late June and then head to the LeBron Academy.
"Every college coach in the country will be present during the live period at LeBron's," said St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle, whose team has won back-to-back Tournament of Champions titles.
*Among the colleges chasing Ebanks are Rutgers, Indiana, Miami and Texas. He recently took visits to Indiana and Miami and liked both schools.
"I've been telling everybody Indiana and Miami are neck-and-neck right now," he said. "I would say Rutgers is after them and then Texas."
*Ebanks said this his mother, Yvonne Jackson, was partial to Rutgers because she had developed a relationship with assistant coach Craig Carter.
"They talk a lot," he said.
*With St. Thomas More teammate Justin Sofman of West Milford (left) headed to Rutgers, might that influence Ebanks' decision?
"We don't really talk about colleges," he said. "It can be overwhelming at times."
*Asked what Rutgers needed to do to land a player such as himself or Samardo Samuels, Ebanks said: "They need to basically prove themselves by getting players who are Top 10, Top 15 in their class...I've played with Mike Coburn, Corey Chandler's pretty good. I just need to see the improvement, basically."
When I mentioned that not too many more signings (if any) would take place between now and July, Ebanks simply said: "Right."
*Ebanks said he had also developed a relationship with Miami head coach Frank Haith, who was involved in recruiting him. Asked if the imminent departure of Miami AD Paul Dee in 2008 might impact his decision, Ebanks said: "Right now, we're trying to find out what's going to happen with that."
Asked about reports that his mother was against Miami because of the distance, he said: "That has nothing to do with it. If I want to go to Miami, then that's where I'm going."
*As for Indiana, Ebanks said: "That's the first time I visited there. It was a great environment. I liked it there."
*And does he want to attend a school with a storied program or one where he can help build a tradition?
*I see myself going to a place where there's tradition, but I also want to set my own footprints at that school," he said.
*Ebanks said he hoped to make a decision after the big AAU tournaments in Las Vegas in late July. He will consult with his mother, St. Thomas More coach Jere Quinn and his AAU advisor, Lawrence McGuggan.
"Probably like right after Vegas, I'll make a decision," he said.