Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Big things were expected of Fab Melo when he first arrived at Syracuse last season.
He was named the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year, and projected as a possible one-and-done.
But the 7-footer from Brazil collapsed under the weight of the hype and never lived up to expectations
Now as a slim-downed sophomore, he’s showing signs of promise.
On Wednesday against Seton Hall, Melo recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and a record setting 10 blocks to lead No. 1 Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) past Seton Hall, 75-49.
Melo’s 10 blocked shots is the most in a single game at Syracuse, bettering Etan Thomas’ previous record of nine, of which he set three times.
“I don’t know who that was out there today,” Syracuse guard Dion Waiters said. “He was like a baby Dwight Howard, monster, beast, he played unbelievable. The way he played today, I’m just happy for him.”
For the season, Melo is averaging 6.8 points, 5.5 rebonds and 2.9 blocks.
He’s not exactly Dwight Howard, but if he keeps playing like he did against the Pirates, he could be a major factor in a potential Final Four run by the Orange.
They already have a deep and talented backcourt with Waiters, Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche, and a stud on the wing in Kris Joseph.
As far as his NBA potential, scouts want to see Melo be more consistent before they consider him pro ready.
“[The] biggest issue with him is can he consistantly look like a first round pick night in and night out for them,” one NBA scout told SNY.tv prior to the Seton Hall game.
“Until and unless he can do that he will be considered as simply a player who came in with great hype but hasn’t lived up to it.”
Melo seems well aware of the criticisms against him and promises that there will be more nights like Wednesday.
“No, there will be more for sure,” he said. “I am going to work a lot and my game is going to get better.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.