Written for your enjoyment by: Ryan McNaughton
The tale of former Syracuse University basketball standout Eric Devendorf took another turn halfway across the world over the weekend. And for anybody who knows his story, you had to ask the question, "why did it take this long?"
Devendorf was released by his 6-1 New Zealand team that he was averaging over 24 points for. Players with that kind of production are rarely, if ever, released. As you suspect, there's more to the story:
Read about it here
Now, before I write anything else, can anybody other then myself find the irony of Eric Devendorf being involved in an off-the-court incident with a former Big East Conference Sportsmanship Award winner? Felix and Oscar are more alike than Josh Pace and Devo.
So Devo is involved in an altercation...the police get involved...nobody gets arrested....Devo is released shortly there-after, but the incident "leant no weight to our decision to cancel his contract"? Right. That goes up there with, "it has nothing to do with money", "I'd play this game for free", and, "I don't read what the media says." The club says they're looking for more of a pure point guard. I dunno, wouldn't it more sense then to release your shooting guard who isn't averaging 24.4 points per game, move Devo to the two, then sign another pure point? But it's not about the altercation......
I'm not here to defend Devendorf. During my time working in the media in Syracuse, I'd absolutely be lying if I said every single one of us in town didn't go to work most days wondering if we'd be getting a press release from SU discussing another incident. He was a very polarizing figure in the region. Either you loved him for his tenacity and effort on the court, or you loathed him for his off-court behavior. Just when you thought he was getting things back together, you'd hear something else. His last incident in town nearly led to nearly a season-long suspension for the '08-'09 season, but thanks to an Appeals Board, he missed just a few games. Sure, I heard some things from people I consider quite reliable about this incident that made me question how that appeal was successful, but only a handful of people truly know what happened that early morning. I only reported on facts, not speculation. But the facts are these: the kid needs to get his head on straight in order to succeed in the rest of his adult life. Words are exchanged between people all the time. Move on and forget about it. It's a great way to ensure a more-pleasant day.
Despite not being arrested this latest time, you have to wonder exactly how many more opportunities this guy is going to get? For all of his marvelous on-court talent, Eric Devendorf continues to battle with off-court issues that threaten to curtail any chance he has of making a living playing a kid's game. Sure, he's a young man in the game of life, but all these stories are truly getting old.
"Controversial" is not an adjective you want to have following you everywhere. Especially when you have to travel to such far-away destinations as New Zealand to play the game you love so much.
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