Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter eager to begin summer league
With West Virginia's Devin Ebanks and Texas-El Paso's Derrick Caracter just arriving in Los Angeles, they have leaned on relationships to help them get ready for summer camp.
Ebanks grew up in Queens, N.Y., the same area Lamar Odom and Ron Artest resided. Ebanks reached out to Odom to get together once Odom returns from vacation in Mexico. Caracter shares a bond with Ebanks from playing together in the AAU circuit. Ebanks planned to grab dinner with the West family after playing at West Virginia with Jerry West's son, Jonnie. And Caracter plans to immediately consult the Lakers' deep frontline of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Odom."People who don't listen to guys like that," Caracter said, "there's something wrong with them."
Caracter and Ebanks aren't any of those guys, who will begin summer league trying to crack a spot on the championship roster. Ebanks, whom the Lakers selected with their 43rd pick, and Caracter, whom the Lakers picked at 58, each expressed confidence they could do that. Said Ebanks: "I feel I have a good shot." Added Caracter: "I think I have a pretty good chance." But they're also mindful they have to provide some distinguishable qualities to prove their worth.
Caracter said he dropped from 305 pounds to 277 after his career with the Miners because of more sleep and selective eating habits, and plans to decrease to 270 to show his conditioning isn't an issue. He detailed how he matured after transferring from Louisville and UTEP, and wants to prove he can adapt to playing in a big city.
"My faith wasn't as strong as it is now," Caracter said. "I wasn't in tune with myself and a lot of little things and distractions that happened on the court was a growing process. I had to grow up and look at myself in a mirror. It's nothing that I'm really interested in anymore, really. When I was younger, I used to want to go to the clubs and now if I even do step out, I like a loungey area instead of clubs."
As for Ebanks, he's pledged to improve his jump-shooting. But he's also aware he helped the Mountaineers to their first Final Four since 1959 and the most wins in school history because of his lock-down defense and rebounding (a team-leading 8.1 per game).
"It's a different circumstance of course," Ebanks said, "but I've been in big games and know what to do."
--Mark MedinaFollow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org