Q+A: Eric Devendorf
Catching up with the former SLAM High School Diarist.
SLAM: You posted 12 points, close to 3 boards, and close to 3 assists that freshman year, garnering All-Big East freshmen honors. What did that mean to you—did you feel like you had made the transition to college ball smoothly?
ED: Yeah I felt like it gave me the confidence that I could play on that level. I never really doubted myself anyway, but doing it just gave me that much more confidence.
SLAM: Despite much glory during your early career at the Cuse you also battled injury, tearing your ACL. Did you ever fear you weren’t going to be the same on the court, and how hard was the road to recovery?
ED: I think that’s something that goes through every player’s mind when you go through a severe injury like that. So it crossed my mind a couple times, but then I had to just keep working hard with the trainers at school and they did a great job at getting me ready. I just have to give all the credit to the training staff there at Syracuse—they did a really good job.
SLAM: Seeing as how the conferences will be realigned and Syracuse will be moving to the ACC, what are your thoughts on that? The tradition and rivalries of Villanova, Georgetown, will be things of the past.
ED: You know, it’s really disappointing because, for Syracuse fans, there are no more Big East tournaments in Madison Square Garden, and, in my opinion, it is the best tournament in college basketball so you lose that right there. From another standpoint, the competition level will be outstanding in the ACC. It’s a money move obviously, and I guess money talks.
SLAM: On your junior year, you averaged close to 16 ppg and was considered one of the top players in college ball. Despite having another year of eligibility, you opted to go to the NBA. What were some of the deciding factors to leave school early?
ED: I think a lot of the reason the choice was made was that I had two little girls, and maybe it was a little bit too early to enter the Draft for me—maybe I should’ve stayed—but at that time I was just thinking about my family. No regrets, just a different road to get to the level that I would like to be at. It’s fun out here grinding and meeting a lot of good people along the way. So I am meeting a lot of good people either overseas or here in the D-League. So I will continue to keep working hard.
SLAM: Did you feel like Coach wanted you to stay, did he support the choice? Why not stay for another year?
ED: Yeah Coach Boeheim supported everything I did, and it was my choice 100 percent and he would’ve stuck with me if I stayed or if I left. Coach is a good dude, and I talk to him in the summer all the time and he had my back all the time at Syracuse.
SLAM: A lot of people say that once you have kids, that really took you to another level as a man off the court. Has becoming a father added fuel to the fire, your passion for the game and success?
ED: Yeah possibly, but I always have been an emotional and passionate guy about the game of basketball. Once I had kids, I knew it wasn’t about just me any more. It kind of meant more to work harder to make money to support my family, but having two little girls have added fuel to the fire to get better and take care of them the best way that I can.
SLAM: Shortly after you left SU you went to play ball with a couple leagues overseas. How was the transition to the European game, is their a big change with the style of play, refs, coaching? What were some likes and dislikes about the game?
ED: Well the European game is more slow-paced, half court. More defensive-minded, so you kind of have to shoot the ball and defend, but you must be able to shoot because they pack it into the middle. Different style than the NBA, an adjustment to be made but not that hard when you have been playing basketball your whole life.
SLAM: Now you have settled back in the states, at first playing with the Idaho Stampede and being traded to the Reno Bighorns. How do you like playing in the D-League—any differences? What are some things you would like to accomplish during your time at this level?
ED: Well in my opinion, it is the second most talented league in the world behind the NBA. A lot of talented guys who have been in and out of the NBA, overseas or what have you. The D-League is about getting up and down the floor and making plays for yourself and others because it is so many talented guys and everyone can do so many things. It’s a great chance to showcase your talent.
SLAM: What have been some things in your game you felt you needed to work on to take yourself to the next level?
ED: Well, this is really my first full year in the D-League, I wanted to come out here and really get my name out there to the NBA guys and whoever it may be overseas. I haven’t been playing as much as I could be, but I have been playing behind some really talented veteran guys and I am just waiting for when I get my opportunity and when I do really show them what I can do.
SLAM: As a ball player and a man, how would you like to be remembered?
ED: Obviously that is tough because so many people already have a perception of me, but I would l just like to be remembered as a good person on and off the court, for my teammates to like me and to get along with them. I would like to be remembered as a guy who worked hard and was very passionate about the game. Hopefully that is what a lot of people will remember me by, and I know a lot of people won’t, but I am trying to change that perception and hopefully I can do that.