The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 16, 2014

Something special is happening out in the desert

MORGANTOWN — What is new is old and what is old is new again as something special is happening out in the desert. The NBA Summer League has shifted from Orlando to Las Vegas this week, and two WVU greats are playing side-by-side--a rarity to see on a professional basketball court.

Last week, Kevin Jones wore an Indiana Pacers jersey in Orlando. He had a great week, leading the league in rebounding (10 per game) and averaging nearly 13 points per contest. He no doubt made a good impression on Pacers’ GM Larry Bird and head coach Frank Vogel, who sat courtside during a few games.

Last Friday, the Las Vegas version of the NBA Summer League tipped off on the same day the Orlando action came to a close. Devin Ebanks is a member of the D-League Select team, made up of some of the best players from the NBA’s development league. Thus far through three games, Ebanks’ growth last year split between playing for the Texas Legends and Springfield Armor shows. He is playing like a man who belongs on an NBA roster, or at least deserving of a camp invite.

Through three games, Ebanks averages 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Jones joined Ebanks on the D-League Select Team after traveling from Orlando on Sunday for a game against Atlanta. Jones came off the bench and played 17 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds. But it was Ebanks who starred once again and won the game on a layup in overtime. He finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three steals.

On Day 4 of action, Jones scored six points. Ebanks led the way and played a fantastic game, earning him a nod on NBA.com’s Top Performer List:

Ebanks has looked like a man on a mission in this Summer League. He’s been the focal point of the Select Team’s offense, vocal on defense and fiery as a competitor. On Monday he posted 22 points on 8-for-15 shooting, showing a soft touch from outside while also banging bodies down low — a solid audition for a stretch-4 spot in the NBA.

The team is off on Tuesday. The schedule for the rest of the week will be determined based upon the standings at the close of play Tuesday.

Jones already had a strong audition in Orlando. Now it is Ebanks turn in Vegas to put his best foot forward. If they keep up their strong play, this fall, they could be coming to an NBA court near you.

— Caleb Wygal is a Nicholas County native. You can read more from him and catch up on many Mountaineers playing professionally at WVUPros.com, or contact him on Twitter (@WVUPros).

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