Boys Basketball: Ebube rising to new heights for Mundelein
Mundelein's Chino Ebube (right) tries to shoot one over Lake Forest's Sam Downey. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:41AM
Recalling some of Chino Ebube’s dunks from early in the 2011-12 season, Mundelein High School boys basketball coach Richard Knar chuckled.
He didn’t found humor in the emphatic baskets; rather, it was Ebube’s post-slam manner that made the coach laugh.
“It was like he wanted to apology for dunking,” Knar said.
Mundelein fans, meanwhile, wanted to witness dunk after dunk from Ebube, now a 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior forward with a 6-7 wingspan.
Ebube’s dunks aren’t normal.
“They’re drastic, really aggressive,” Knar said. “They remind me of lot of (former Atlanta Hawks great) Dominique Wilkins’ dunks. Dominique’s dunks were … just … vicious. Chino’s dunks also look vicious because he’s so explosive down low, and he doesn’t have to coil much to get up there and pound a dunk down.”
Ebube continued to play well above the rim for the Mustangs during this summer’s team camp at the University of Northern Iowa, throwing down 24 dunks in only six games. He also wowed ’em at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout, and helped the Lake County Challengers reach the AAU Division I Nationals, held in Orlando, Fla., July 14-19.
“Chino has impressed a lot of people this summer,” Knar said. “His season last winter was his coming-out party, and his game this summer is taking off. He’s now got a nice hook and an up-and-under move. What I’ve also noticed is the way he’s stretched out his jump shot; he’s now hitting 12- to 15-footers comfortably.”
Broach the topic of an Ebube dunk with Ebube himself, and he downplays it. The humble Mustang essentially admitted that most of the glory should go to his teammates.
“They’re the ones who pass me the ball,” Ebube said.
The best kind of entry pass to Ebube is the alley-oop, the kind his teammates love to deliver.
“We’ve been working on that pass this summer, even from mid-court,” Knar said. “The mid-court alley-oop is a legitimate pass. And here’s the thing about such a pass with Chino around: It doesn’t have to be all that accurate. Just get the ball somewhere near the rim and Chino will take care of it from there because he’s so athletic — so fast from ground to rim.”
Ebube was so good in a win over St. Viator in a Class 4A Barrington Sectional semifinal back in March. He poured in a career-high 29 points, and got really acquainted with the gym’s rafters.
“What I remember most about that game was the atmosphere, how crazy and loud it was,” Ebube said.
Last winter, Ebube averaged 10 points and seven rebounds a game. Those aren’t blaring stats, but Knar figures each could double in 2012-13 and stamp Ebube as one the area’s finest players.
“Right now, he’s undersized for a (NCAA) Division I player,” said Knar. “But he makes up for that with his explosiveness, with his athleticism, in general, and his learning curve is off the charts. He’s been lifting weights a lot this summer, so much so that he’s the strongest kid on the team.”
The team will have to compete without standout senior guard Robert Knar for most of the winter. Knar suffered an ACL tear at AAU Nationals last month and underwent knee surgery on Friday.
“When I heard about the injury, the world stopped for me,” Ebube said. “But we’re going to do all we can to have a great season … work hard for him. We’ve all been playing basketball together since we were sixth-graders — that will help a lot. We’ll be motivated to not let him down.”
Mundelein played nine games without Ebube during the middle of last season while he attended the funeral for his grandmother, Agnes, in Nigeria.
“She was the best grandmother, so sweet and loving and giving,” Ebube said. “One of the last things she said to me was, ‘Make me proud.’ ”
‘O’ yes: Among other Lake County Challengers who played in Orlando in last month’s AAU Nationals were Mundelein seniors Dylan Delaquila, Quinn Pokora and Cliff Dunigan. The team was coached by Dunigan’s father, also named Cliff.~