What would sports be without its villains? Every sport has them; the players you love if they're on your team and hate if they're not. Syracuse has had its fair share of bad guys pass through campus, and so it comes as no surprise that Sporting News's list of the 16 most-hated college basketball players of all time includes a pair of Orangemen: Derrick Coleman (#7) and Eric Devendorf (#9).
The Orange may have put its two players into the top 10, but Syracuse wasn’t even close to being the most represented team on the list. Duke put up five players, including the top spot (going to Christian Laettner, of course). Georgetown’s Allen Iverson and Patrick Ewing both made the list, but neither cracked the top 10, showing that Syracuse is even better than Georgetown at being hated.
Orange fans love Coleman and Devendorf, but in case you had forgotten why the rest of the country hated them so much, here's a refresher.
Derrick Coleman was old school bad. If he didn’t like what you were doing on the court, you’d better be ready to catch some hands, as seen here:
(Coleman comes in from the bench wearing his warm up)
The point is, Derrick Coleman was a physical player who wasn’t afraid to stay physical after the whistle blew. Sporting News said he "had a nasty demeanor that made some fans consider cheering for Bob Knight and Indiana in the 1987 national championship game." I don’t know if I’d go that far, but Coleman certainly had the attitude to warrant his #7 ranking.
Eric Devendorf was a different animal. He messed with your head. The former Syracuse and current Boeheim’s Army star would make the Mount Rushmore of Orange trash talkers, and had the game to back it up. Coleman would punch you in the face, but Devendorf would make you wish he’d punch you in the face just so you could punch back. Coleman didn’t care if you liked him or not, while Devendorf loved to be hated. He lived off it, thrived in it, and hasn’t changed a bit since his Syracuse days (he was ejected from a Boeheim’s Army game last year). Through jersey tugging, table jumping and scowling glares Devendorf became the most hated college basketball player of his time. Sporting News called him "Syracuse’s last great villain in the Big East," a title Devendorf most likely wears with pride.
As much as Coleman and Devendorf were (and still are) hated on the court, you have to respect what they’ve been doing off it as of late. Devendorf helped put together a charity basketball game last month to benefit the victims of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, and Coleman has been in Flint walking door-to-door delivering water.