Ebanks to Make First Career NBA Start - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Ebanks to Make First Career NBA Start

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MORGANTOWN -

Former WVU Star Devin Ebanks will begin his second NBA season as a starter for the Los Angeles Lakers. Ebanks recently beat out Matt Barnes for the starting role.

"It is a dream come true to start in the NBA and the first game to be against one of the best teams," says Ebanks. "It's a dream come true."

He will join players like Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant as opening day starters when the Lakers take on the Chicago Bulls later on this Christmas Day. Bryant has gone out of his way to help Ebanks early in his career.

"He's just been a very good mentor towards me, even from my rookie year," says Ebanks. "He has always stayed in my ear and told me things, even during the course of a game so he has been very helpful."

Ebanks learned of the news that he earned the starting role late last week and had the opportunity to celebrate the news by visiting with some of his former college teammates in Las Vegas. He attended Friday night's West Virginia game against Baylor.

"It was great (to see them again)," stated Ebanks. "I was actually trying to see them during the lockout so I saw the opportunity and took advantage of it."

The second round pick in the 2010 NBA draft greeted his former Head Coach Bob Huggins with a big embrace. He later spent a few minutes sitting outside the locker room talking with the two players he came to West Virginia with, Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones. The three friends shared a few laughs before Jones and Bryant were ushered away to catch their flights back to Morgantown.

Ebanks has an understanding of what it takes to play in the NBA. He says Kevin Jones should get a chance to join him in that league next year, "I have always said KJ has a chance. He has to keep doing what he is doing. He is getting great numbers this year and if he keeps doing that he should get into the NBA."

For now, Jones will continue trying to lead the Mountaineers forward while Ebanks begins a new phase in his NBA career. Ebanks would not have earned a starting position if he did not maintain his focus throughout the NBA lockout.

"That was one of my priorities was having an opportunity to play," says Ebanks. "As soon as we lost to Dallas, I got back to work. I have been working out every day since then."

Ebanks returned from Las Vegas prepared to face a grueling schedule. Because of the lockout, NBA teams will be forced to play on back-to-back nights in different cities. It will be difficult, especially for the older players.

"I have to take care of my body," says Ebanks. "It will be a lot of traveling and I have to take care of my body and I will be alright."

Ebanks is already guaranteed to have a great Christmas in that he has earned a starting role. He hopes it will be even better by helping the Lakers to an opening day victory against the Chicago Bulls.

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