We all remember Eric Devendorf as the fiery, controversial, combative player who always seemed on the edge of self-combusting. He hasn’t seemed to change. Devo may be six years removed from his playing days at Syracuse (where we named him part of The Fizz’s All-Sanctions Team), but he can still get thrown out of a basketball game with the best of them.
Devendorf was ejected from Boeheim’s Army’s game in The Basketball Tournament on Sunday after exchanging words with former LaSalle University player Steven Smith. The two had already been separated once before, and the second altercation ended the nights of both players.
It was never easy keeping Devo under wraps, but this underscores just how tough it was for the coaching staff to harness his ability last decade. You would think he would have chilled out a little by now, especially since it’s a friendly tournament, and not the intensity and urgency of the Big East. But this is what made him one of the great villains and fascinating characters in conference history.
Boeheim’s Army coach Lawrence Moten told Chris Carlson of syracuse.com, “There’s going to be a lot of tension in the game when you’re playing for $1 million. I was telling Devendorf, sometimes he has to keep his head. He’s a bit of a hothead. He plays the game with a lot of passion but at times you have to know when to settle it down… But it’s just his passion, his love for the game.”
“You probably had to be pretty close to hear what was said,” Smith said. “But it’s over. We spoke afterwards. We did the general way to defuse the situation stuff, you know, my bad, limp handshake.”
Devendorf declined to comment on the incident.
The good news is Boeheim’s Army marches on. They won on Sunday by a score of 92-91 in overtime. It’s next game is on Friday in Chicago against the Liberty Ballers, who consist of former Villanova and Siena players. You can watch the game live via thetournament.com.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson