Syracuse Stud Eric Devendorf Should Stay For Senior Season

Damian JacksonContributor IApril 9, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 13: Eric Devendorf #23 and Paul Harris #11 of the Syracuse Orange react late in the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Eric Devendorf would have no other choice if he didn't tear his ACL a year ago.

The injury granted the Syracuse Orange guard an extra season of eligibility. The question now is whether he will take advantage.

Devendorf made a name for himself this season as the second leading scorer with 15.7 points per and finishing tops in three-point percentage at 39 percent. A strong Big East Tournament only bolstered his case.

After a disappointing performance against Oklahoma in the Sweet 16, Devendorf and the Orange were sent home. Syracuse shot poorly early and never recovered.

Just one of Syracuse's core players are seniors, energy man Kristof Ongenaet. Star point guard Jonny Flynn made noise earlier by stating he was heavily leaning to returning to the Orange for his junior campaign.

Reports have mentioned the likelihood of Devendorf and fellow junior Paul Harris declaring for the 2009 NBA Draft.

If one or both do and remain, it's a mistake. Why?

Ask ex-Syracuse Orange forward Donte Greene. He left after his freshman season, yes, but the point is he was not ready. If honest, Greene would tell anyone the same.

The several moments of excellence put aside, Devendorf is known for mental lapses that lead to mistakes, which hurt the team. His final year at Syracuse could help polish his game and eliminate those costly mental errors.

Harris' situation is even more complex than Devendorf. Harris would be labeled a "tweener" is NBA camps.

He's not a ball handler. He does not own a pure jumper. He is not a lock-down defender. He does not possess the height to play the low post.

Heavy with negativity, but it's the truth. Harris simply does not fit any position.

Both Devendorf and Harris have more back at Syracuse than either have to look forward to in the NBA right now. Sure the salary in the Association is alluring, but remember only first round picks receive guaranteed money.

The Orange are poised for another championship run next season. They keep the core group of Flynn, Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku, Rick Jackson, and freshman Kris Joseph. The return of Devendorf and Harris would strengthen their case.

It comes down to what is most important to each individual. They each have agendas and it can have Syracuse or the draft written on them.

A Syracuse return for both seems juicier than an early jump into a cloudy future the NBA beholds.