As a Freshman, Banks has shows incredible poise and determination playing against a stiffer competition than he did in his HS days. He has an uncanny ability to receive the ball anywhere on the floor and get it to his favorite spot on the floor, the low post right at the blocks. Time after time he continues to find the bottom of the bucket with a routine turnaround jumpshot. Whether the defender allows him to push it closer to the hoop to get the basket and 1, or force him to take the tough angled turnaround fadeaway, he does it effortlessly.
If he is playing against a team with a tough frontcourt, Sean has no problems taking the ball outside where he can be dangerous with the 3 pointer. His height, wingspan, and ability to get off the floor on a jumpshot allow him to easily get the shot over the heads of most defenders.
Rebounding is another strong area for Sean Banks. He is not a real big guy at this point weight-wise, but he plays with a strong determination to get to the ball or atleast get his hands on it with every possesion, whether it is offensive or defensive. He pushes his way inside and gets great position for rebounds on both ends of the court. If he is not in perfect position he can use his quickness to step around the player boxing him out to sneak around for the offensive board.
Banks' height and length help in other ways too such as shotblocking and deflecting passes. He had a season high 5 blocks in an all around defensive effort where he had his hands in all the passing lanes and disrupting the dribble of his opponents.
Came into the Memphis program with a decent understanding of the game, but as the season progresses it is obvious that Calipari is spending time with him in order to further his knowledge and awareness of the game. He originally started out driving the lanes and picking up dumb fouls on the offensive side of the ball, but now he seems to have that checked and knows what, and what not to do with the ball in particular situations where it could be costly.
Banks' ability to play SG as well as both Forward positions comes from his HS days when he was only about 6'5.
Although Banks is a great all around player at this point he still is at times inconsistent with his jumpshot at stretches hitting several in a row, but can go cold for streaks at the same rate. Banks still appears to retain a lot of baby fat and could spend a little more time in the weightroom.
Almost every game in his Freshamn season has been noteworthy. He has had a couple that stand out most including a 28 point outing against Marquette where he also pulled down 6 boards, 3 assists, and shot an astonishing 6/7 from beyond the arc. In a game against Charlotte, Banks poured in 29 points along with 10 rebounds and again shot 6/7 from beyond the arc. And, in a few games he has shot perfectly from the free throw line with 7 attemtpts or more.
Banks will have the opportunity to enter the draft and be a 1st round pick as early as the '05 draft. The potential is there to make the lottery, but at this point looks like he may end up mid to late first round.
(All links in "links" section of scouting report)
Man-child with the jump shot, Mike Kelly, North Jersey.com, July 20, 2003
SEAN BANKS has a marvelous jump shot, so soft and accurate that he was considered one of the best high school basketball players in America. He also has a troubling history.
He is 18 now, a man-child on the cusp of promise, supposedly headed to college on a basketball scholarship after a championship career at Bergen Catholic High School. He may have to go to jail first, though.
Banks, who was abandoned by his mother and has lived with a grandmother in Hackensack, has been arrested twice in the last six months. In both instances, police say, there was a common factor: Banks was hanging out with alleged gang members.
On a cold Tuesday in February - a day he did not have classes at Bergen Catholic - Banks was in a car on Route 4 with three other teenagers who police said were involved with "The Outlaws." The car was swerving dangerously in heavy traffic. A police officer attempted to pull the boys over, but they sped off. The chase ended with the boys' car sliding into a snow bank. The boys tried to run away, but all were arrested and charged with interfering with a government function. Banks was suspended for four games, including the Bergen County Jamboree won by Bergen Catholic.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in Hackensack Municipal Court and was fined $100, with $50 in court costs.
Two weeks ago, Banks was arrested again. Once more, there was an alleged gang connection.
Englewood police say Banks used a lighted cigarette to burn a gang insignia into the leg of a 15-year-old girl. The burning, police say, was a gang initiation rite - three circles, in the form of a triangle, near the girl's right ankle. The circles are called "dog paws" and are considered by police to be an insignia for "The Bloods."
The girl reportedly limped home. The girl's mother called police, who charged Banks with aggravated assault with a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
Banks was released after posting $5,000 bail. Soon after, he told a sports reporter he "didn't do anything." He added, "These are just allegations the girl's mother is making based on hearsay."
In early June, Banks showed up for Bergen Catholic's graduation ceremonies. But did he get a diploma? The school won't say, explaining it does not release academic information. What is known is that after graduation, Banks had to attend a special prep school in Massachusetts for courses in math and English.
Why did he have to take the extra courses? He reportedly has a history of academic problems. But as with his alleged gang links, it's still a mystery whether Banks is ready for college academics.
Is he responsible enough to undertake a college workload? Or, like so many star athletes, will he flunk out?
Banks reportedly passed both prep courses. That was enough, it seems, for him to become eligible for a basketball scholarship to the University of Memphis. But that was before Banks got arrested for the alleged gang rite with the cigarette.
Is Memphis worried? The school's basketball coach, John Calipari, the former Nets coach, seems blissfully unfazed. To Record sportswriter Dan Rosen, Calipari described Banks as "a little rough around the edges."
Rising sophomore could regret decision, Andy Katz, ESPN.com, July 16, 2004
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Memphis rising sophomore Sean Banks left USA Basketball in the lurch Friday. The decision ultimately could prove costly to his aspiring pro career.
Banks, who lives 15 minutes from the New Jersey Nets' practice facility, which is being used as the training site for the 2004 World Championships for Young Men's qualifying team, did not bother to call USA Basketball in advance and inform officials that he would not be attending tryouts.
Instead, representatives from USA Basketball had to track down Memphis coach John Calipari and inform him that Banks was nowhere to be found hours before he was due to check into his hotel Thursday night.
Calipari told ESPN.com on Friday night that he spoke with Banks, who attended nearby Bergen Catholic High School. The star forward told his coach he "didn't want to play," a choice that comes at the expense of other players who wanted to attend qualifying.
Stunned, Calipari told Banks that he was making a mistake and that he would likely regret this decision.
Banks would have had a legitimate chance to make the World Championships team because of his prolific scoring ability. But, just as important, he could have proven to NBA scouts who attended practices this week -- and likely will check out the competition in Halifax, Nova Scotia, later this month -- that he was worthy of being a first-round pick, possibly as early as 2005.
Instead, scouts Friday night were likely wondering whether Banks is able to make good decisions.
Calipari suspends star indefinitely, Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal, December 15, 2004
There had been yelling and screaming, begging and benching. But no matter what the University of Memphis coaching staff did to get a positive reaction from Sean Banks, nothing worked.
On Tuesday, things went a step further. John Calipari suspended the sophomore star indefinitely iin a drastic measure made necessary by escalating desperate circumstances.
"I suspended him for breaking team rules," Calipari said. "It's nothing major. But when a lot of 'nothing majors' are let go, then you have no parameters. Then it's the wild west, and you can't have that."
The suspension of Banks is the latest development in this season gone wrong, and further evidence that he has been at the core of the Tigers' problems.
The Memphis staff has criticized Banks, who did not return phone messages from The Commercial Appeal, almost daily since he returned from his home in New Jersey, where he spent the summer and skipped the trials for the World Championship for Young Men Qualifying team.
Banks, a 6-8 forward, has rejected pleas to show more energy and less attitude. He has ignored ultimatums to get closer to the basket and rebound.
Consequently, Banks was benched for the beginning of Saturday's loss to Ole Miss, marking the first time in his career that he did not start a game. Apparently, that disciplinary action did not resonate because on Tuesday morning Banks broke an unspecified team rule that forced Calipari's hand.
"Suspending him was the only recourse I had," Calipari said. "He knows what's expected of him."
"Hopefully Sean uses this week, and then he comes back," Calipari said. "But he's going to have to prove to the team and staff that he's committed to this."
Banks's status a mystery for Southern, Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 9, 2005
Say what you will about the University of Memphis basketball team, but this bunch has a knack for keeping things interesting.
The latest example came Saturday, when the Tigers reconvened for the first time since Thursday's loss at Texas and the subsequent locker room fight between Sean Banks and Arthur Barclay.
Banks, with a hood covering his head, stood on a nearby treadmill and watched television. He interacted with few.
Then practice began, and the Tigers took the court, held hands and talked for a moment. The only player missing was Banks, who had disappeared to the back of the Finch Center.
So what's up?
"I don't know," answered John Calipari, "Someone just told me he was in the back sick."
Calipari insisted Banks is as much a part of the Tigers now as he was last week, and added that the reigning C-USA Freshman of the Year was not barred from practice.
But even with those assurances, Banks's future appears to be in limbo considering he has suffered one setback after another since shunning the NBA to return to college.
Here's the recap:
Unlike most Tigers, Banks spent the majority of the summer back home in New Jersey, where his troubled past is well-documented.
After accepting an invitation to try out for Team USA's Under-21 team this summer, Banks skipped the workouts without excuse and tainted his national reputation.
Banks returned to Memphis the day before classes began, and was almost immediately singled out by the coaching staff for being out of shape and unprepared.
Following a string of lackluster practices, Banks was benched against Ole Miss and did not start for the first time in his career. Three days later he was suspended for one game for an unspecified violation of team rules.
In the closing minutes against Texas, Banks took some ill-advised shots and was criticized by Barclay. Later in the locker room, the two took part in a fight that featured wrestling, and Barclay throwing one punch that connected. The next morning, Banks did not ride the team bus to the airport in Austin, nor did he attend a team dinner at Rafferty's near campus late in the day.
In the midst of all this, Banks's academic status has also slipped. Sources within the program have told The Commercial Appeal that unless the 6-8 forward passes a forthcoming make-up exam, he will be ineligible for the second semester, which begins Jan. 18, or in three games.
Calipari cited federal law as the reason he could not address Banks's academic situation. He did, however, address everything else.
"I feel bad for him," Calipari said. "If you don't feel bad for him, then you have no feelings. Think about it. He went from a (NBA) lottery pick to ... 'What am I going to do?'
"Well how would you act? So I have compassion for the kid. But who did it to him?"
So can Banks recover?
"Sure," Calipari answered. "We all can. Because the minute you accept that you've done some stupid things, then you can recover. But I just feel bad for him."
Banks ineligible to play rest of season- Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 16, 2005
First the suspension. Then the fight. Now this.
Sources close to the University of Memphis basketball program told The Commercial Appeal on Saturday that Sean Banks will be ineligible for the second semester. In other words, the sophomore standout has played his final game of the season.
Banks's academic standing had been a topic of discussion since a Jan. 8 report in The Commercial Appeal stated he needed to pass a make-up exam to retain his eligibility.
Throughout the past week, Memphis coach John Calipari cited federal privacy laws and declined to discuss the matter. But following his Tigers' 61-59 loss to TCU on Saturday, he actually brought it up.
"We're going to know in the next day or so if he will be with the team or not," Calipari said. "I really don't have a feel (on which way it will go). I mean, I'm not involved in it. I'm just waiting to hear."
This development is devastating to Banks's career, and the latest in a long line of blows that has caused him to, in a matter of 10 months, go from ESPN.com's National Freshman of the Year to a player considered a problem on all levels.
A 6-8 forward, Banks damaged his NBA stock by skipping tryouts for USA Basketball's Under-21 team this summer, and then things progressively got worse.
He was criticized by the UofM staff for poor practice habits in the preseason and was subsequently suspended for a game. Then, Banks got into a fight with Barclay following a Jan. 6 loss at Texas, which left him with a black eye and alienated from some teammates.
Exactly what's next for Banks is difficult to say.
Enroll for the second semester, get his grades in order and play for the Tigers next season.
Transfer to another Division 1 school, and be eligible after the first semester next season.
Drop out of school and take his chances turning pro.
Banks facing court appearance on pot charge- Zack McMillin, Memphis Commericial Appeal, February 4, 2005
Sean Banks, now far removed from the University of Memphis basketball program, is in trouble again.
The Bergen Record of New Jersey reported Tuesday that Banks, the former Tiger star and 2003-04 national freshman of the year, has a Feb. 16 court appearance for possession of marijuana.
According to the Record, Englewood police stopped a car in the early morning hours of Jan. 27 after it had run through a stop sign. Banks was a passenger in the car, driven by a 19-year-old named Richard Campbell. A small bag of what was suspected to be marijuana was found on the floor, and Campbell, Banks and one other passenger, 18-year-old Hassan Coleman, were released on summonses.
Banks, 20, was declared academically ineligible in January, and he returned to his home in New Jersey. Calls made to his cell phone by The Commercial Appeal were not answered.
UofM coach John Calipari, who had been trying to steer Banks to a basketball camp in Houston run by former NBA coach John Lucas, said Thursday he had not talked with Banks.
He did express disappointment and called it a "tragic" ongoing situation.
"I still worry for him, and if there is any way I can help him I will help him," Calipari said. "A lot of times you've got to go to the lowest level to bounce back, and hopefully he will.
"I only wish the best for him, and I'm disappointed for him for what's happened over the last three months."
"He's made a lot of bad choices, week after week, month after month, and they start adding up," Calipari said.
Calipari would not say whether the latest incident could have an effect on any possible future with the UofM. To regain his eligibility, Banks could attend classes at a local junior-college or university and transfer the credit hours to Memphis.
"My concern with him right now is that he gets his life in shape and makes good decisions," Calipari said. "Beyond that it's kind of foolish (to consider) at this point."