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Issue 1465 April 22, 2012
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Eric Devendorf Finally Getting His Chance in D-League to Make the Big Time

Starring Role Next Season Forseen for Former Syracuse Star

April 21, 2012       1 Comments
By: Dave Rogers

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The 6-4 Devendorf turns 25 on Saturday and, after several years of a rocky apprenticeship, may be ready to take a run at the big leagues.

The acquisition of Blake Ahearn by the Utah Jazz from the Reno Bighorns may be the best thing that ever happened to Eric Devendorf.

Three games in early April perhaps gave Devo the impetus, and the confidence, to show his real potential.

He popped for 21-25-26 in those contests, scorching the nets with a .720 field goal average and a .692 three-point mark. His free throws need work as he makes about three of four while top scorer Ahearn was nearly perfect at the line.

The 6-4 Devendorf turns 25 on Saturday and, after several years of a rocky apprenticeship, may be ready to take a run at the big leagues.

Coming out of Syracuse pre-emptorily for the NBA draft in retrospect appears to have been a major miscalculation, since he went undrafted as an early entrant in the 2009 NBA draft. That led to an overseas trek playing in New Zealand, Australia and -- worst of all -- Turkey.

Devendorf, who has been held back, in effect, behind the high-scoring Ahearn, finally was given substantial minutes in the Bighorns last three games of the season.

Devo's break came when the team learned of Ahearn's move and no doubt presages a starring role next year for the once controversial Bay Cityan.

Ahearn averaged 23.8 points per game in the NBA-D League West Division and was high scorer in that division for the last place Bighorns. Devo topped that figure in the last three games of the season while playing only 25.9 minutes per game.

The Bighorn flash, perhaps the best ever out of Bay City although a recent poll named Western High's towering Matt Costello as the top local cage talent, appears likely to surpass Ahearn's figures next season.

Taking nothing away from him, but the 6-10 Michigan State bound Costello has yet to play a minute in college while Devo was Big East Rookie of the Year in 2007 and set the league on fire through most of his career.

SLAM Magazine online had this colloquy with Devo:

SLAM: Recently I saw an article from the Bay Area in Michigan, which is where you are from, and they ranked you as the No. 2 player all-time from that area?

ED: "They messed that up don't worry about that [laughs]."

SLAM: Yeah I do agree. Your junior year you averaged 30 points per game, right?

ED: "Yeah I was averaging 30 and then I went to Oak Hill and I was a McDonald's All American, and the dude they picked ahead of me wasn't even a McDonald's All American. It might be a popularity contest, you know what I mean?"

Regarding his decision on the early out, Devo commented to SLAM:

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."

It appears Devo's hard work is paying off and we look forward to covering his hard court exploits next season. ###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
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