Report: Syracuse's Devendorf To Declare for NBA Draft

Adam FierCorrespondent IApril 9, 2009

MIAMI - MARCH 22:  Guard Eric Devendorf #23 of the Syracuse Orange reacts after scoring a three pointer against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the American Airlines Arena on March 22, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Reports out of Syracuse this morning have guard Eric Devendorf set to declare for the NBA draft. 

Devendorf, who obtained a fifth year of eligibility following knee surgery which forced him to miss all but 10 games of the 2007-2008 season, was the second leading scorer on an Orange team that made an unexpected run to the Sweet 16 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

Devendorf declined comment when approached, however, early word on campus was that not only were the rumors true, but somebody close to Devendorf went as far as saying that he was leaving Syracuse University regardless of draft status, perhaps to pursue playing in Europe if the NBA didn't work out.

The speculation surrounding Devendorf makes him the second Syracuse starter to be considering an early exit from the school, as point guard Jonny Flynn is expected to declare as well.

It is unknown whether or not either player will hire and agent, as doing so would eliminate the possibility of returning to school for the 2009-2010 season.

The reports on Devendorf come shortly after both ESPN and Sports Illustrated projected the Orange to be among the top five teams in their 2010 preseason rankings. The high ranking was assuming that the team would be returning all five starters, which it has the ability to do should everybody eligible to return does so.

Despite becoming one of college basketball's most hated players late in the season, Devendorf proved to be a valuable part of the success the Orange had down the stretch.

It was Devendorf who hit what appeared to be a game winning shot at the end of regulation in the memorable six overtime game against UCONN in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals. 

In their second round matchup with Arizona State in the NCAA tournament, it was Devendorf who hit a pair of clutch threes which propelled the Orange into the Sweet 16.

By now you've probably heard the stories of Devendorf's off the court issues and whether or not you like him, if you root for Syracuse you know how important he was to the success of the team and how difficult it would be to replace his perimeter shooting, his willingness to take the big shot, as well as his experience.

The Big East will be losing a number of top talent, with the likes of Hasheem Thabeet of UCONN, DeJaun Blair of Pitt, and Terrence Williams of Louisville all going pro.

Should Syracuse manage to return their starting five, along with additions like transfer Wesley Johnson and freshman Brandon Triche, the Orange will have themselves a contender for a National Championship.