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Hoops notebook: Pearson wins co-MVP; Ebanks still deciding

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Ryan Pearson had no choice but to stay abreast to what was happening with his future coach, Jim Larranaga. The George Mason head man, and Queens native, was being courted heavily by his alma mater Providence. Pearson signed a letter of intent to play at the Virginia school back in the fall.

"He kept me updated with every move he made," said Pearson, who was named co-MVP of the Jordan Classic regional game Saturday at Madison Square Garden, after scoring 36 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. "He called me twice a week."

But instead of bolting to the Big East, Larranaga decided to stay put with at George Mason, where he signed a multi-year extension. By doing that the Patriots not only kept the coach that took them to the Final Four two years ago, but a recruit who could have gotten Big East offers had he not committed to them so early.

"If he (left), I would have had to open up my recruitment," Pearson said. "I'm gonna make sure he knows he made the right decision."

The waiting game. Devin Ebanks was watching ESPN last month when he saw something disturbing scroll across the bottom of the screen: the coach he committed to at Indiana, Kelvin Sampson, was in danger of being fired due to multiple NCAA infractions. When Sampson was let go, he called Ebanks and the Long Island City native and current student at St. Thomas More in Connecticut has since opened up his recruitment. He plans to decide on either Texas, Memphis or Rutgers a few days before the April signing period is over.

"We're taking our time with the whole process," said Ebanks after he scored 14 points in the Jordan Classic national game Saturday night.

Prepping for future. South Jamaica native Justin Newton, who will graduate from Brooklyn's Poly Prep in May, competed in the Big Apple Basketball Scholarship Games, for unsigned seniors, Sunday at Baruch College.

"They give everybody an opportunity to be seen by college coaches," Newton said.

The 6-foot guard with a football player's physique says he has interest from Marist, Hofstra, St. John's, Miami and Manhattan. Looking on Sunday at Baruch was new Marist coach Chucky Martin, a former St. John's assistant and Bronx native.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

Updated 6:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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