It's not official yet but the word on the street yesterday was that Eric Devendorf will be forgoing his senior season and declaring himself eligible for the NBA Draft. The easy thing to do is call him a moron and point to the fact that he's not on anyone's draft board. And that's not to say that's a wrong opinion...but that's not the whole story.
It's not so black and white for a guy like Devendorf. Brent Axe illustrates this perfectly in his latest column that pits the pros and cons against each other in a way that tells the entire story. It makes the case for why Devo would be dumb to do this while also making the case as to why Devo would be dumb NOT to do this.
Check out Devo's NBADraft.net profile page. His many strengths are only matched by his many weaknesses. He would be served greatly by another season in school, especially if the season ends up going as well as some are predicting.
Then again...would it? Is there anything, short of suddenly averaging 25 PPG, that Devo can do to make himself NBA-worthy? Hard to find a way to say it would happen, especially if he spends another season overshadowed by Jonny Flynn and giving up shots to Andy Rautins while trying too hard to create for himself.
There's a lot of off-the-court issues that factor in. Devo's got a child to support. He's graduating in May and might just be "done" with school. And then there's the stigma that surrounds him and will continue to surround him for the forseeable future.
And I think that's what Eric Devendorf is picturing. And dreading.
Since the incident earlier this season, opposing crowds have been on Devo like he's their worst enemy. Some of it was old-fashioned booing and taunting and some of it was downright cold and over-the-top. All the while Devo said it didn't bother him.
And that's BS.
I don't know about you but I didn't buy it for a second, that Devo was unfazed by the taunts. Especially when you saw him revel in the delight when he made a huge shot or put it in someone's face. Devo couldn't wait to give it back to all those who were against him, perceived or not. And that's because of a very simple reason...it's not very fun to walk into a building where 20,000 strangers don't like you. It's not very fun to log on to the Internet and read multiple articles about how you're the most hated person in college basketball. It's not very fun to be called every kind of name possible on a nightly basis while you try to do the thing you love doing.
Going pro represents a clean slate for Devo. If he goes to Europe, his baggage stays here (except for the literal baggage, which will go with him). He's got the cache to catch on quickly and make some good scratch. And now he can do what he loves to do...without all the taunting and the hate and the bile. It's just him playing basketball again. And who knows, he might even be beloved where he goes. Hell, if Matt Gorman can become a prominent player in England (MATT GORMAN!!!), Eric Devendorf can do very well playing professional basketball right now.
So is Devo ready to go pro? Depends on what you're referring to.