A rising star in the making, Fab Melo, has had anything but a smooth basketball career playing for his university. He was recently suspended from his team on academic grounds.
“I was dropped from the team due to academic reasons,” Melo said. “If anyone does not understand my situation, they should know that I am not a native and have come from a different country. And until a few years ago, I had a hard time speaking English,” he added.
Coming from Brazil, Fab Melo struggled to keep his place in the team during his sophomore years. It was at that time, that he became one of the best defenders in the United States. But eventually was axed due to bad grades.
He learnt a lot during that time, not only on the field, but also off it, dealing with major adversities. In spite of earning the Big East Defensive Player of the year title, he still had to reel with the questions of not being able to finish a season due to academic reasons.
Syracuse University became very weak without the flamboyant defender. In the regional finals they lost to Ohio State. Before the loss, Syracuse occupied the top spot for six weeks when Melo was playing.
It was a very difficult situation for Fab Melo too, watching his team struggle, and not being able to contribute knowing his presence could have made a difference. “It was indeed very tough, but there are certain things beyond my control,” was what Melo had to say.
Not only academic situations, but sexual harassment allegations caused him severe distractions. Assistant coach Bernie Fine alleged that Melo was abusing her sexually. On top of that, the school admitted that some of the players from the previous year’s team had been involved in drug use. The school said that it would look into the matter and see that no such player was playing with the team.
The coach of the team, Jim Boeheim never gave up on Melo and managed to use his players wisely, earning 34 victories overall. Melo said, “It was such a tough phase in my career, but I’m really grateful to coach Boeheim. He was superb and always kept us focussed.”
Currently, Melo is all set to make an impact in the NBA for the upcoming season. Although he has just six years of experience in playing basketball, but still feels that his defensive skills are something to look out for.