Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fort Lauderdale's Eubanks Still Ready

For Kobie Eubanks, everything seemed right in the world.

After an arduous, mentally-taxing recruiting process, the electrifying 6-foot-5 wing was headed to Alabama.

Sold on head coach and former San Antonio Spurs guard Avery Johnson, excited about the prospect of meaningful minutes, Eubanks signed his letter of intent in late June.

Draped in a silky white suit, his Elev8 coaching staff standing proudly behind his shoulders, Eubanks took the Alabama fitted cap and squeezed it right on. It seemed official.

Exactly two months later, in late August, Eubanks was declared ineligible. It was a pummeling blow to Johnson, who netted Eubanks as the highest ranked player of his initial 'Bama recruiting class.

"I was in shock, a little disappointed," said Eubanks, out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"Then again, there's always bumps and bruises along the road. How you fight through adversity, it shows who you really are. It shows character. It shows toughness. All I'm looking right now is just finding the right fit."

The road to success isn't always straight.

For Eubanks, the recruiting process has been topsy-turvy and unpredictable. Eubanks de-comitted from Baylor in November, after being ruled academically ineligible for the 2014-15 season.

The Eubanks family was then embroiled in a messy lawsuit with American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., where Eubanks thrived as a mid-range and 3-point threat with lethal finishing ability.

Eubanks and his father, Clayton Eubanks, filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the school, alleging grade manipulation. This, the Eubanks' maintain, ultimately jeopardized his scholarship to Baylor.

After re-opening his recruitment, Eubanks rapidly evolved into one of the nation's most actively pursued recruits. A newfound proclivity for putting the ball on the deck and creating his shot off the dribble raised Eubanks' national profile.

He narrowed his list down to Georgia, Missouri, Texas, Oregon, and UCLA last January. Then, in the spring, he tweaked the list.

The 20-year-old Eubanks said he wouldn't consider playing overseas, saying his commitment to finding a college program is first and foremost.

"Right now my main focus is just getting to college," said Eubanks. "Getting to college and showing everyone my skill-set. Showing everybody what they didn't see from me before, what I can do now."

What went wrong at Alabama?

"It was the fact that school was getting ready to start and I didn't have my (ACT) test score yet," said Eubanks.

Eubanks said he expects to receive his ACT scores soon.

The setbacks of the recruitment process, Eubanks said, has only made him more hungry. Eubanks wouldn't divulge the current list of schools recruiting him. He did say, however, that he's going to make the most out of the opportunity after a long wait.

"People probably think I'm not ready, but all it's going to take is me getting on that court and getting to the school I fit in at."

As a high-energy catch-and-stick threat at Our Savior New American School (Centereach, N.Y.), Eubanks averaged 18.5 points while spearheading the high school to a 24-3 record.

Eubanks frequently trains with fellow Fort Lauderdale native Brandon Knight, currently with the Phoenix Suns. He credits Knight for preparing him for his post-graduate year at Elev8.