Former Syracuse center Fab Melo was found dead at his home in Brazil on Saturday, according to a report out of his native country.
Globo says Melo came home on Friday night and when his mother checked on him Saturday, he was unresponsive. Police came and determined he was dead. SNY’s Adam Zagoria confirmed the news.
Former Syracuse big man Fab Melo passed away in Brazil, team source confirms. Sad news.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) February 12, 2017
Melo was 26. The Brazilian native played his college ball at Syracuse and was the No. 22 overall pick by the Boston Celtics in 2012. He played in six career NBA games. He played two seasons at Syracuse. He averaged 7.8 points and 2.9 blocks per game in his sophomore season. After failing to make it in the NBA, Melo played in Puerto Rico and Brazil.
- Fab Melo
Being tall ain’t easy. Boston Celtics rookie center Fab Melo stands 7-feet tall. While his height makes playing basketball easier than it would be for someone like me, it can also turn everyday activities into a challenge. Take walking through a standard doorway, for example.
According to Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com, Melo suffered a concussion last week after he bumped his head on his Sioux Falls hotel room doorway. The rookie was staying in Sioux Falls with the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, for back-to-back games against the Skyforce. He did not play in the team’s game on Monday and the Celtics recalled him on Wednesday so that team doctors could further evaluate him.
“I still have a little headache,” Melo said. “Sometimes I can’t really focus on something for a long time, that’s it.”
It would appear that the former Syracuse star is a bit of a klutz. Over the summer, Melo fell through a folding chair during an NBA rookie photo shoot. Boston head coach Doc Rivers compared Melo to Manny Ramirez on account of his awkwardness.
“I think, what did you have? Manny being Manny?” Rivers said. “Five years when Fab’s playing terrific for us here, we’re going to have some Fab being Fab moments. He just took kind of a head start. … Literally.”
Does that mean he’s going to lead the Celtics to multiple championships before being busted for using PEDs multiple times? Nah, I think Doc just meant the team had better start getting used to padding hotel doorways.
Oftentimes when a 7-foot, 255-pound basketball player tries to take on a folding chair, the folding chair wins. Or maybe it loses? I guess it depends on your viewpoint, but what I mean is not all folding chairs are designed to support men of that stature. During a recent photo shoot with some of his fellow NBA rookies, Celtics center Fab Melo learned that the hard way.
As you can see from the video above that Pro Basketball Talk passed along, Melo was taking a seat in between three other rookies to pose for a picture when his chair completely gave out.
“I think the chair was too weak and an accident happened,” Melo explained. “I lost weight. I’m good now. I know that I gained weight (before). But yeah, the chair fell.”
Don’t worry, Fab — this offensive lineman knows exactly how you feel. Melo will probably experience a number of embarrassing moments while making the transition from college to the NBA, so this is great practice for that.
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- Fab Melo
With Fab Melo ruled ineligible for the NCAA tournament, some are wondering if Syracuse is destined for an early exit. Assuming the Orange get past 16th-seeded UNC-Asheville, the winner of the first (second) round game between Kansas State and Southern Mississippi could be primed to pull off an upset. You would think either of those teams would be salivating at the thought of taking on a Syracuse team that is missing the anchor of its smothering zone defense. Unless, of course, one of the coaches had no idea who Melo was.
“As idiotic as this sounds, I don’t know who (Fab Melo) is,” Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy said according to Campus Rivary, adding that he is not much of a college basketball fan during the season and is more of a “Law and Order” guy. “I get enough basketball in the gym.”
Come on. This has to be Eustachy’s way of emphasizing that his team is taking things one game at a time, right? Generally speaking, if you look ahead in the NCAA tournament you’re already doomed. Southern Miss has no reason to worry about a Big East team during the regular season, but Melo is one of the bigger names in college basketball. They are clearly focused on Kansas State, but this seems way too far-fetched. It would be impossible to have no idea who Melo is. At least, I think it would.
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- College Basketball
Very few teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament had a better shot at cutting down the nets in April than Syracuse. In the course of a single day, the Orange have become a long shot to advance even to the Sweet 16. Syracuse announced on Tuesday that sophomore center Fab Melo will not participate in the tournament due to an “eligibility issue.” As far as setbacks go, that’s about as big as it gets for Jim Boeheim and company.
According to ESPN.com, Melo’s ineligibility is a result of an academic issue related to the one he had earlier this season. Melo was cleared to play after missing three games in January, but the NCAA has since revisited the issue and once again deemed him ineligible.
One of Syracuse’s two losses this season came against Notre Dame, with Melo watching from the bench. That was hardly a coincidence, as he is the anchor of a zone defense that has carried the Orange to a No. 1 seed in the tournament and made them a championship contender. After a lackluster freshman season, Melo was arguably the nation’s most-improved player as a sophomore this year, when he averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and nearly three blocks per game.
Syracuse’s biggest concern heading into The Dance is rebounding, an area in which they rank 125th in the nation. Losing their 7-foot center could result in teams dominating the Orange on the glass — even 16th-seeded UNC-Asheville. Could this be the first time in tournament history a No. 16 seed knocks off a No. 1 seed? Probably not, but the stars are certainly aligned perfectly for it to happen.