Jorge ‘Steamy’ Ebanks has inspired many Cayman residents on and off the hard court.
Among those pleased with Ebanks’ new foray in England is Cayman Islands Basketball Association President Joel Jefferson, who states it speaks volumes about local basketball.
“It’s great news for Cayman in general as well as for the basketball programme because it shows that we’re growing,” Jefferson said. “We’re doing the right things, we’re grooming the kids the right way.
“They’re going to school, getting an education and furthering their basketball careers. That’s a great sign for us.”
Ebanks, 26, recently signed a one-year contract with the Tees Valley Mohawks in division one of the English Basketball League. Based in Middlesborough, England, the squad is in the midst of retooling its roster this summer.
The George Town native officially joined the team last week and propelled the Mohawks to win their preseason tournament over the weekend. In a brief Twitter post this week, the club stated that Ebanks, along with new signings Jamie Kohn, Dave Hanson and Tom Robinson, played well.
Ebanks, who turns 27 next March, was previously based in New York. He played for semi-pro team the Buffalo Stampede, in the Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League, the last two years. The team played in the New York metropolitan area, which was convenient as Ebanks was finishing up his studies at Daemen College in Amherst, near the city of Buffalo.
Jefferson states he is genuinely pleased with how Ebanks is settling in to the pro ranks.
“It means a lot for him. Obviously, playing the game professionally and getting paid to play is a big step for anybody here in Cayman. He’s one of the few that has ever done it, so that’s fantastic news.”
The Mohawks are expected to begin their regular season campaign against the Derby Trail Blazers on 27 October. Ebanks is slated to play at shooting guard. Matches continue through November and December and into next April.
The 6ft 1in guard will be looking to replicate the form he had in Cayman last year. He won the Cayman Islands Basketball Association 2011 national men’s league championship with the Dominos Warriors, earning the Finals Most Valuable Player trophy.
After that, he captained the national team to the Island Games on the Isle of Wight in the UK and the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Senior Mens Championships in Nassau, Bahamas.