MORGANTOWN - Bob Huggins hasn't had a chance to watch much of what Devin Ebanks has been able to accomplish in recent days and weeks because he's been on the road so much, including Big 12 coaches meetings in Phoenix and Mountaineer Caravan stops around the state.
He has managed to follow the former West Virginia star's emergence as genuine part of the Los Angeles Lakers rotation and isn't surprised.
"Dev's got a great aptitude to learn and grow,'' Huggins said Thursday. "And I think he's just figuring out what [Lakers coach] Mike [Brown] wants him to do.''
After spending most of his first two seasons bouncing back and forth from the Lakers to the NBA Developmental League, Ebanks has begun to settle in with Los Angeles as the NBA playoffs begin. He's started the Lakers' first two playoff games against the Denver Nuggets, including a 12-point first half in a Game 1 win.
Ebanks is far from a scoring machine. The 12 points he had in the first half of Sunday night's playoff opener (he didn't score in the second half and had just four points in Game 2 after getting two early fouls) marked only the third double-digit scoring effort of his NBA career, much less a single half.
But it was also his second strong game in a row after he scored 14 in the regular-season finale against Sacramento when the Lakers sat stars Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
More significantly, since April 7, the 6-foot-9, 215-pound small forward has averaged 24 minutes per game. He's scoring just 6.1 points per game, but he's solidly in the team's rotation.
That Ebanks is in the starting lineup now is because of the seven-game suspension of Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest), but that he is in the rotation is due to his rapid improvement.
Huggins figures it's only a matter of time before he improves even more.