FULTON — In sports, business, and any other cooperative endeavor, teamwork is often the key to successful outcomes.
Teamwork led to an extraordinary event at the Fulton War Memorial on Wednesday. Former Syracuse University basketball player Eric Devendorf came to town to lead a free, socially distant youth ballhandling clinic.
Devendorf joined forces with the city of Fulton, AmeriCorps, the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, and the Fulton boys and girls basketball programs to step up for those in our community who are in need. Instead of paying a registration fee, participants were asked to bring a canned good to donate to the Catholic Charities of Oswego County Food Pantry.
Fulton varsity basketball players and AmeriCorps members Jack Broderick, Devon Nicholson, Lexi Patterson, Marcus Shepard, Dominic Abbott, and Alena Wright also played key roles in making this event possible, while following through with their AmeriCorps community service requirements.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on with the holiday season approaching,
Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County Mary-Margaret Pekow turned to an old friend. According to Pekow, Catholic Charities of Oswego County has worked with Fulton varsity boys basketball coach Sean Broderick and the boys basketball program in community service efforts numerous times over the years. She said that their current collaboration is one that displays the eagerness people of Oswego County have to support one another. Food donations from this event will help Catholic Charities support a pivotal need.
“I believe that this type of community event really showcases how Oswego County pulls together and how much the young people in our community truly care,” Pekow said.
Throughout the afternoon, more than 100 participants ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade took part in Devendorf’s ballhandling drills. To ensure pandemic-related safety regulations were met, participants were separated by age groups. To make sure no more than 50 people were inside the Fulton War Memorial at one time, each age group was given a 30-minute time slot to work with the former Syracuse guard.
Devendorf, who played for the Orange from 2005-09, ranks among the top 15 scorers in Syracuse history with 1,680 total points. Some of his career highlights include playing on the 2006 Big East Tournament championship team and topping Connecticut in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Big East Tournament after six overtime periods.
Since his time at Syracuse, Devendorf played professional basketball on the national and international level and has recently begun transitioning into the coaching field. He currently serves as an assistant coach at the University of Detroit-Mercy.
Seniors on the Fulton basketball teams are old enough to remember Devendorf’s time with the Orange. According to Dominic Abbott, to gain from Devendorf’s knowledge was an opportunity he could not miss. “We grew up watching him play in the Big East Tournament and we’ve watched him make big shots,” Abbott said. “It’s pretty cool that he’s teaching us what he worked on to get himself better and what he does to work with high-level players.”