Ebanks hopes Drive will open door to NBA

Ebanks had led the Grand Rapids Drive in scoring this season

Devin Ebanks, Grand Rapids Drive
Grand Rapids Drive forward Devin Ebanks.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — At 26, Devin Ebanks is trying to earn his way back into the NBA.

“I’ve played in the NBA for three years and just want to get back to that level,” Ebanks told 24 Hour News 8. The Grand Rapids Drive D-League team, he said, “is a great start to get there.”

Ebanks was a second-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010 and 43rd overall. Over three years, he played in 63 games for the Lakers, though he spent the majority of those seasons in the D-League. He went on to play in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

“That was fun and a good experience for me, but I believe I belong in the NBA,” he said.

With the Drive this season, the forward has been a consistent offensive machine, leading the team with an average of 21 points and nearly eight rebounds per game. In the past two month, he has been averaging 24 points per game, including setting a single-game franchise record of 43 on Jan. 18.

“I’m feeling pretty good about how I’m playing so far,” he said. “I work hard and in the off-time and summertime and it’s a reflection of that right now.”

But the season has not been without stumbling blocks. In October 2015, he was charged with a second-offense DUI. It’s something he said he feels like he has to explain to NBA teams with which he might have a chance, saying it won’t be a problem going forward.

“Just got to keep going on,” he said. “You got to remain consistent and level-headed and everything will work out for you.”

“He’s played very well. Sometimes it’s not just what you see on the basketball court. Sometimes guys have to fit what a team is looking for,” Drive head coach Otis Smith said of Ebanks.

Ebanks said he’ll keep trying to prove he can make that fit.

“I have to be mature and have to be a leader for this team, regardless,” he said.

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