Why Eric Devendorf Should Leave Syracuse

Donna ReynoldsContributor IApril 10, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 14:  Eric Devendorf #23 of the Syracuse Orange reacts between plays against the Louisville Cardinals during the championship game of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As a Syracuse University basketball fan, I would love to see Eric Devendorf stay another year. His contributions have been invaluable and he's just plain fun to watch! However, if he were my son and asked for my advice, I'd encourage him to take the leap.

Why? First, he's getting his degree this year. Despite all the obstacles, including playing ball, recuperating from surgery, and being suspended, he's not given up and will graduate on time.

Staying another year would require him to take additional classes, and I can only wonder what his motivation would be to study when he's already gotten a degree. Would he take graduate classes, or would school just be a sham?

Second, he has a child to support. One of the things I would hope he has learned this year is to take responsibility for his actions. It's time to step up and support his family. Playing in Europe will pay him well and he'll have a nice financial foundation on which to build.

Third, another injury could end his chances at playing pro for good. Better go pro and be making money now while he can. Devendorf never played timidly this season. He went all out every game—and while it was great for the team, he could well have re-injured that ACL. The mom in me would worry about that!

Fourth, Devendorf has been under a heavy scrutiny since the incident in November that resulted in his suspension. The local media reports on his every misstep and he has to feel as though he's living under a microscope.

On the road, he's been subject to taunts from fans of the opposing teams, and while he claims this doesn't bother him, it has to be a little distracting, if not for him, then certainly for the team.

Leaving SU and playing in Europe or for an NBA development team would give Devendorf a fresh start and an opportunity to work on reinventing a new and improved version of himself!

Devendorf could be one of those "sleeper" players who emerges on the professional level and carves a comfortable niche for himself as a work horse. It's impossible to predict where his career will lead him, but the time has come for him to make the move, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.