June 30, 2012

Melo took a winding road to the Celts

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Fab Melo

CELTICS PICKS

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, 6-9, 268, power forward: Productive guy who plays mostly below the rim.

Fab Melo, Syracuse, 7-0, 255, center: Shot-blocker who can fill up the lane defensively.

Kris Joseph, Syracuse, 6-7, 215, small forward: A project, most analysts agree.

At first it seemed good. Coach Jim Boeheim inserted Melo in the starting lineup for the 2010-11 opener and though he started 24 games, Melo wasn't prepared for the pace and physical nature of the Big East.

Melo also found it difficult to deal with Boeheim's quick substitutions, missed two practices and was benched. He ended his rookie season averaging 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds, and had only 25 blocks, then landed in City Court on a misdemeanor charge that summer after a fight with his girlfriend.

He was accused of breaking the turn-signal arm of his girlfriend's car during an argument, pleaded not guilty, and his record was sealed after he underwent counseling and stayed out of further trouble.

"It was more the pressure that I had to be like Carmelo Anthony," Melo said. "It was something I didn't expect. I think that was the toughest thing for me. I'm still new to the game."

Seemingly overnight, Melo morphed into a defensive monster. After playing last summer for Brazil's national team at the World University Games in China, he returned to school more than 30 pounds lighter.

Despite a three-game suspension at midseason for academics, Melo shot 56.6 percent from the field, averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, and registered 88 blocks, probably altering three shots for every block.

His presence in the middle of Boeheim's zone defense helped lead the Orange to No. 1 in the nation for six weeks and earned him Big East defensive player of the year. He also became adept at taking charges in the paint.

"Every rookie is unique," said Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Celtics. "I know he can block shots. He both blocks shots and takes charges. That's unique for a big guy."

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos