By most accounts Sagemont (FL) High School’s big man Fab Melo is a Top-5 recruit in the country.
Watch the YouTube video and his footwork and perimeter game for a seven-footer make you drool.
Big East fans watched Hasheem Thabeet alter games with simple defensive prowess and end up as the second pick in the NBA Draft.
But what if Thabeet added 25 pounds, a handful of low-post moves and a smooth 20-foot jumper?
Simply put: scary.
To be fair, Melo is still plenty raw. He played soccer growing up in his native Brazil and didn’t pick up a basketball until ninth-grade.
But Orange Nation (and the SU coaching staff) is drooling at the prospect of the school’s best big man since Derrick Coleman and one of its most talented true centers since Rony Seikaly.
The Fizz had an opportunity to sit-down with his head coach Adam Ross, who traveled alongside Melo for his campus visit in May.
“We spent a couple days there and it was fantastic. We had the opportunity to go into the Dome and we were awestruck by that. We had an opportunity to tour the site of the Melo Center. It will be one of the nicest, if not the nicest, practice facilities in the country. Coach Boeheim and his staff are really first-class guys.”
Dozens of schools have fallen into line and are recruiting Fab, but Ross says it’s now a Final Four.
“He’s basically down to four schools now. Those being Louisville, Syracuse, UConn and Florida State. There are a bunch of other schools that he has not visited. They’re not totally out of the question. But right now we’re spending a lot of time focusing on those four schools that he visited.”
The ‘Cuse was actually just the third Big Eastprogram in on Fab, but a stroke of luck might have changed the Orange fortunes: landing in the Miami pod of the NCAA tourney.
“They were the third school in the Big East to come in. They came down while they were down for the first two games of the NCAA tournament in Miami. They had an opportunity to watch us in an open-gym workout. They were impressed with Fab and I think Fab has become their number-one target nationally in the 2010 class.”
Best of all, if Melo decides to ply his trade at the Dome, we might have to pay a debt of gratitude to some run-of-the-mill, everyday Orange nutjobs who did some bonus recruiting at American Airlines Arena.
“I took him to the game against Stephen F. Austin. It was actually a great experience to be there. The entire arena was orange. Our seats happened to be with some crazy Syracuse fans. They were chanting Fab’s name and were giving him high-fives every time Jonny Flynn scored. It was a funny experience and a great one.”
Looking for a date to circle for Fab’s decision? He’s bruising his way through the rugged summer AAU circuit and plans to take a few weeks off to visit his family in Brazil.
At earliest, a mid-August date might be reasonable. Maybe we should send some of those delirious Syracuse fans to the Sao Paulo airport.