New York City native Devin Ebanks rests his head far away from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple these days. And that might be the best thing for the 6-foot-7, 185-pound junior.
The move from Bishop Loughlin is looking like it was worth it. Ebanks, the No. 14 ranked player in the class of 2008, is playing, and acting, like a guy that has something to prove to himself.
St. Thomas More head coach Jere Quinn said he has seen a difference his star junior since he made the move north.
"He was looking for a place to call home and he's been very comfortable with his teammates and very comfortable with his academics and therefore, I think he is very comfortable with who he is," Quinn said. "With a lot of the New York City kids, when they leave, they struggle. But with him, he's adjusted and if he continues his maturation process it will be interesting to where he ends up at."
Ebanks said he likes the direction he is going on and off the court.
"I like it a lot. It's helping me a lot academically and athletically," he said of his time at St. Thomas More. "Coach is on me a lot to always stay on it academically. I like that about him. My classes I'm doing good. I've got over an 80 average and athletics is just secondary to that. So, I'm doing good."
He was very good at the National Prep Showcase last week. Ebanks averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game over the two game stretch at the NPS and shot 46.8 percent from the floor.
"I think I'm playing pretty well right now. I just need to play harder," Ebanks said after his first game at the NPS.
"He's got to work on his body and work on putting the ball on the floor. If Devin accepts a 100 percent work ethic, he'll be doing fine," Quinn said. "Devin is an absolute, wonderful practice player. He'll work incredibly hard for two, two and a half hours. What he needs to do is spend some time on his own in the weight room and work on the game himself. That's what he needs to do."
Colleges are watching him work on his grades and game and staying patient in the process. Ebanks said he is hearing the most from Georgia, New Mexico, Miami, St. John's and Rutgers. But recruiting isn't a high priority at the moment. Getting straight in the classroom and educating himself with his options is.
"I'm keeping back and trying to find out more about the schools," Ebanks said. "Miami and Rutgers and New Mexico are recruiting the heaviest."
Ebanks made a trip to New Mexico in the fall and spoke highly of his time out West.
"I had a ball out there," he said. "I might go back again in the season. They've been recruiting before anybody else. They probably started recruiting me when I was in eighth or ninth grade."
Ebanks has also visited Rutgers. But don't expect a decision today, tomorrow or even this year. His priorities are in the classroom and Quinn says his player is doing fine in that regard.
"Academically, he's been doing tremendously. But similar to basketball, he could do better," Quinn said. "His potential is unlimited."