Last year, former Syracuse Orange star Eric Devendorf was spending time at his old stomping grounds doing two things: Recovering from back surgery, and earning his degree from SU. It looks like that time away from the game hasn't slowed him down at all.
Devendorf is currently leading the National Basketball League of New Zealand in scoring with 27.3 points per game. The league is comprised of seven teams and is a little more than halfway through its 18-game regular season.
His shooting numbers are superb: 53.2 percent from the field and 48.7 percent from three-point range. His team, the Super City Rangers, currently sits in fourth place with a record of 6-5. In a text message exchange with Syracuse.com, Devendorf had this to say:
"Feels good to get back playing professionally. I feel I have been doing well out here. I don't really feel I have anything to prove, just showing people I am healthy coming off the back injury. It has been fun to play and play with people I am familiar with. I am enjoying my time here best I can."
Devendorf is one of at least 12 former Syracuse players playing internationally this season. Let's take a quick look at where each player is and how he's doing.
Quick note: The stats being shown are from the international basketball website, Euro Sport.
Demetris Nichols, CSKA Moscow, Russia: Nichols is playing his second season with the European power team. He's averaging 15.6 minutes and 6.6 points per game, while helping CSKA Moscow to a 28-2 league record. They are currently in the Euro League semifinals, which is Europe's premier basketball tournament. He's averaging 4.2 points in the games in that competition.
Paul Harris, Usak Sportif, Turkey: Harris leads his team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 16 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. His rebounds are good for second in the Turkish league, while he sits at ninth in the league in scoring. Usak Sportif (15-12) currently sits at seventh place in the league. Harris is shooting 46.9 percent from the floor, although he is making on 33.1 percent of his 3-point shots.
Andy Rautins, Royal Hali, Turkey: Rautins currently ranks second in scoring at 13 points per game for the eighth-place Royal Hali. He is shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent from 3-point range. Also, his beard game is off the charts.
Baye Moussa Keita, Horsens IC, Denmark: Keita had a difficult start to with his team in Belgium, but he has made a successful return to Denmark and currently leads the league in blocked shots at 2.1 per game. Horsens IC won their league title last year and finished this year with a record of 25-3. They currently lead the championship series 2-1.
Hakim Warrick, Olympiacos, Greece: Warrick has played seven games for Olympiacos, which is tied for first in the Greek League with a record of 25-1. He's playing only 15.9 minutes per game, but is putting up very productive numbers in that time. He averages 9.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 64 percent from the field. Olympiacos is currently playing in its league semifinals.
Terrence Roberts, Super City Rangers, New Zealand: United with Devendorf once again, Roberts is playing his first professional basketball season in three years due to injury. Like Devendorf, it hasn't slowed him down. He's averaging 19.3 minutes, 12 points, and 6.7 rebounds per game. He's shooting 65.2 percent from the field, and his 1.2 blocks ranks him fourth in the league.
Arinze Onuaku, Meralco Bolts, Philippines: AO is putting up ridiculous numbers in his league. He's averaging a team-best 19.2 points and 18 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.2 percent from the field. Amazingly, his 18 rebounds per game is only good enough for fourth in the league. It also turns out that the Orange uniform wasn't the reason for his poor free throw shooting: he's averaging 49.5 percent from the line this year. His team is currently down 0-1 in the best-of-three semifinals in the Philippines.
Darryl Watkins, ASVEL Basket, France: Watkins is currently averaging 9.1 points and 6.7 rebounds for ASVEL Basket, which is 18-12 and in sixth place in the French league.
James Southerland, Mitteldeutscher BC, Germany: After struggling to start the year in Italy, Southerland has transitioned to Germany is what has turned out to be a good move for him, personally. Southerland leads his team at 13.9 points per game. He is shooting a torrid 60 percent from the field, including 39.3 percent on 3-pointers. His team, unfortunately, is only 8-23.
Fab Melo, Liga Sorocaba, Brazil: Melo played 16 games this past year and averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He finished third in Brazil with an average of 1.2 blocks per game. He shot 51.7 percent from the field and actually made 5 of his 11 3-point attempts. His team finished 8-20, though, and failed to make the playoffs.
Kris Joseph, Entante Orleans 45, France: Joseph has played 15 games for Entante Orleans, who sit in 11th place out of 18 teams (15-16). He's averaging 9.9 points in 22 minutes per game, while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
Donte Greene: Al Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Greene signed with the club in January, according to Euro Sport. The team webpage did not have individual statistics, but the team finished third and advanced to the league semifinals before losing.