Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf Take the Lead in New York

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IMarch 15, 2009

NEW YORK -- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has had trouble putting into words his thoughts on the most outstanding parts of this year's Big East Tournament. He was at a loss on how to recount the 'Cuse's six overtime thriller against Connecticut.

Boeheim had the same problem after point guard Jonny Flynn won the Dave Gavitt Trophy for the Big East Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

"You can't even describe how he played down here. He played as good as you can play the game."

Louisville's Terrence Williams had more to say about the 'Cuse star.

"I told Andre [McGee] that was the best point guard in the country to me, just the way he handles the ball, the way he runs his team, and the way he is always smiling."

Flynn handled the ball with incredible efficiency. The sophomore tallied 37 assists in four tournament games and turned the ball over only 14 times in 181 minutes of play. The 37 assists broke the Big East Tournament record set by Marc Jackson who notched 36 in 1986.

Because of his performance over essentially five games worth of basketball in four days, Flynn became the first player from a losing team since Georgetown's Victor Page in 1996 to win the tournament's most outstanding player award.

Flynn was so good that he even impressed teammate Paul Harris who played with Flynn in high school.

"I've never seen him play like that. That's the best basketball he's ever played." Harris said. "The whole world sees how much heart he has."

In the locker room after the Syracuse's 76-66 loss to Louisville, Harris also said he had to tip his hat to the aforementioned Flynn and sharp-shooter Andy Rautins for the effort they gave.

Absent from Harris' short list of players was Eric Devendorf who broke the Big East record for most points in a single tournament. When informed about Devendorf's feat, Harris had a blank look on his face.

"He did what?" Harris asked rhetorically. "Whose record did he break? How many points did he have?"

After being told Devendorf had 84 points, breaking Connecticut's Ben Gordon's record of 81 points in 2004, Harris didn't seem so shocked. "Oh wow. That's great for Devo. He stepped up and led us these past couple days."

"He brought his game all four nights. He was there game in and game out," Rautins said of Devendorf.

The 'Cuse shooting guard almost broke another record over the four nights, drilling 15 three-pointers, one shy of Connecticut's Albert Mouring who knocked down 16 in 2000.

Devendorf's emergence and Flynn's consistent dominance finally gives Syracuse the stability in the backcourt it hasn't seen all year. The duo lead the Orange in scoring in each Big East Tournament game except against Connecticut when Flynn led the team and Devendorf was third in scoring, but still put 22 points on the board.

Devendorf's four-game performance earned him a spot on the 2009 Big East Championship All-Tournament Team, but afterwards Flynn grabbed the attention of at least one Louisville fan. 

After the game, when the Big East announced Flynn won the Dave Gavitt Trophy, some Cardinal fans expressed their displeasure that a member of the Orange, not a Cardinal won the award. But one fan was OK with it, but his approval came with a big but. 

"He was great. But I don't want to play him next year. He better go pro."