Syracuse could lose a trio of star players to the NBA Draft.
Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris plan to enter their names into the draft and hire agents, preventing them from coming back to school. Jonny Flynn will submit his name for the draft but won't retain an agent. If he pulls out by June 15, 10 days before the draft, he would be able to return to the Orange next season.
"Obviously it will be a big loss for Syracuse," said draft expert Chris Monter, editor of the Monter Draft News. "They had a big year this year. They had a classic game against Connecticut in the six-overtime game in the Big East Tournament and they made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. People looked at who they had coming in and who they had returning, a lot of people thought they could be an Elite Eight team or even better next year."
A quick point guard who proved he can score and distribute, Flynn was a candidate for the John R. Wooden and the Bob Cousy Awards this past season. He averaged 17.4 points this season and surpassed 1,000 career points. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Big East Tournament despite Syracuse's loss to Louisville in the championship game.
"I think he's gonna put his name in and if he goes and does the workouts, I think he's a top-10 pick," a source close to the Syracuse program said.
"He'd have to be top-10," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told Andy Katz of ESPN.com. "He came in and wants to stay, and I do think he'll come back unless he's fairly high."
Monter said the 6-foot, 186-pound Flynn has several attributes that would be appealing to NBA general managers, especially in a weak draft that will likely feature Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin as the No. 1 overall pick but gets much cloudier after that.
"Flynn had a great year at the point-guard spot," Monter said. "He really worked hard to improve his game. He has good strength and can bounce off people. His quickness and his ability to take the ball to the hoop and distribute are his strengths."
The 6-4, 178-pound Devendorf is a senior academically but has one year of eligibility remaining because he was granted a medical redshirt. He averaged 15.7 points a game last season, second best on the team, and upped his career point total to 1,680. He also converted 82 3-pointers, 10th best in Syracuse history.
Devendorf missed most of the 2007-08 year with a torn ACL and was then briefly suspended this season by the university for allegedly striking a female student with an open hand.
"Devendorf is a great outside shooter," Monter said. "But there are some off-the-court issues with him."
"I'm a big fan of Eric's," former Syracuse star Gerry McNamara, who last year played in the NBA Development League, said at the Big East Tournament. "He's as good a guy and teammate as you can have. He's been through a lot of controversy. He's had some tough times, but it's good to see him still focused on basketball. He's doing a great job."
The 6-5, 228-pound Harris, a junior, tallied 1,253 points in three seasons with the Orange. He averaged 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season.
"Harris is undersized," Monter said. "He's a great rebounder, a versatile player. But where exactly does he play in the NBA? He's not a great outside shooter; he's going to have to be more of a three-man."
Even if Devendorf and Harris, who has two sons, don't get drafted, they would likely play overseas.
"A lot of guys will put their names in and take their names out. In the case of those two guys, if they put their names in, they won't pull them out," the Syracuse source said.