Since last posting, there have been some noteworthy developments surrounding the SU program. Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf have thrown their names in the NBA draft hat, James Southerland has qualified academically, and Jim Boeheim isn’t going anywhere (ba-dum-ching).
First, I’ll try to make some sense of Flynn’s move. For starters, this should surprise zero people. From Flynn’s perspective, there’s absolutely no reason to at least see if the water’s fine. At some get-togethers last summer, Flynn drew many a Chris Paul comparison and impressed those who were on hand. We all know that he was the engine that made the ‘Cuse go all year long. He failed to tally double figure scoring just twice all season while leading the team in that category and also led the team in assists per game with 6.7, three more than the next closest player.
The final few weeks brought a lot of positive PR, and the whole country saw how Jonny Flynn performs when the spotlight’s on him. He could be one of the NBA’s most marketable players as the pro level continues to rise in popularity.
I went on record before the season started that Flynn would be gone next season, and I’m going to stick by it. About the only thing left for him to fine-tune is his decision-making, but if you ask me, he’s been able to succeed despite it, and I think that’s one of the few things that can be learned in the pro’s.
Now we get to Devendorf. It seems like the only thing rewarding about Syracuse to Eric has been basketball. At the moment, we don’t know whether or not he intends on hiring an agent because the story is still developing, but you get the feeling that if he was so desparate to leave, he would have hired one, or stated publicly that he intends to. It appears as though he’s just throwing out a flier at this point and at least will get an evaluation on his game from a different perspective, and I see little harm in that.
What I don’t see for Eric is a very high ceiling at the next level, at least not in the states; I can see him making a very comfortable living as a three point specialist or a backup guard, but in my mind that’s not a very good reason to leave early (just don’t tell Donte Greene).
The motivating factors behind this move seem to be wanting to provide well for his daughter and making some cash before he gets hurt again. In addition to the ACL tear that kept him out of action in the 07-08 season, he had some nagging hip issues this year, but those same health issues will be what keeps him in an Orange jersey in 2010. Like Flynn, Devo seems to thrive when under the spotlight, be it positively or negatively, and if Flynn is gone for good he would be THE man in the Orange’s guard rotation.
Finally, it’s been confirmed that incoming freshman James Southerland has qualified academically and that the third time was the charm on his SAT. It’s ok, James, I know those analogies are a pain the ass.
A deadeye shooter, James is now focused on building the strength necessary to not only drive to the hoop, but to be an enforcer in the back of the zone. While he may not be the physical freak that Paul Harris is, he appears to be the shooter that Harris has struggled to become. The fact that Southerland has Harris and Johnson ahead of him on the depth chart means he may only see Kris Joseph-type minutes next season.
If Southerland can stretch defenses with a smooth jump shot as well as bulk up to withstand contact, he’d make for a welcome addition to the jamming core of Jackson, Harris and Onuaku.