Ebanks sets sights beyond Mohawks

The journey to basketball stardom will not end in England for Jorge “Steamy” Ebanks.

The George Town native plays for the Tees Valley Mohawks, under head coach Steve Butler, but plans to take his talents elsewhere next year.

“As far as this new deal, it’s just another one-year contract,” Ebanks said. “I plan on making this my last year here as I want to further my career. The Mohawks are a good fit for me because the coach does not make his players play like robots, he puts players in positions where they can maximize their game and be comfortable and successful.”

Ebanks, the Mohawks captain, signed a one-year contract extension in August with the Middlesbrough-based club. He had initially inked a one-year deal last summer. The 6-feet, 1-inch guard led division one of the English Basketball League in scoring, averaging over 21 points per game. That production helped Tees Valley compete in the Men’s National Trophy final, finish fifth of 14 teams with a 16-10 record and advance to the league playoffs.

As a result, he was named Guard of the Year by Eurobasket.com, an independent website that covers pro and semi-pro leagues around the globe.

Prior to his English stint, the son of Mary Ebanks was based in New York, playing for the semi-pro Buffalo Stampede in the Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League.

Ebanks, 27, had a stellar start to his 2013 Mohawks campaign last Saturday in the National Trophy competition, which is basically the season-opening tournament. In a 85-63 win over the Medway Park Crusaders, he posted 25 points, six rebounds and five assists. Ebanks said it was a solid performance.

“It was a great start to the new season, we got some new guys and it was great to see them get their first experience at division one level. We also showed that we have an inside presence this season, which was our weakness last season. From what I’ve seen, I’m excited about this team and this season.”

The Cayman star will have help this year from a pair of familiar faces in Lloyd Samuels and Jerome Narcisse, both 26. Samuels and Narcisse are Caymanian talents who signed on with the Mohawks this summer. The trio previously played together on the Dominos Warriors men’s basketball team that won the 2011 national championship.

Ebanks and company face another Trophy match next Saturday, Sept. 28, against the Worthing Thunder. From there, Tees Valley play four more tournament games, with the last contest on Oct. 19 against the Manchester Magic. Their regular season opener is slated for Oct. 26 against the Newham Neptunes.

The collection of Caymanian talent has Ebanks feeling optimistic about this season.

“I think we will do good this season and be a contender for the league championship. We’ve only been together for two weeks now, so it’s going to take time to get to know everyone’s game. But I’m sure after a few months of practice together, we will gel more as a unit because these are some really good players.

“Once the new guys start to adjust to the speed of pro basketball, I’m sure we will be fine. But it’s a long season and injuries always plays a role, so our main goal is to stay healthy. If we can stay healthy, I’m sure will win some silverware.”