Syracuse Basketball: A Look Back At Fab Melo’s Top SU Moments
In what can only be described as utterly shocking and saddening news we learned Fab Melo has left this world over the weekend, he was only 27 years old.
The only way to slice it is that Fab Melo’s shocking death on Saturday at the age of 26 is utterly sad.
After hearing the news, I read a ton of comments from Syracuse fans in chat rooms and on message boards. Some brought up the incident with his then-girlfriend a few years ago. And also his two-time suspension related to academics during the 2011-12 campaign – once for three games during the regular season, and again right before the NCAA Tournament got under way.
Okay, fine. I get it. Melo, who suited up for SU in two stanzas before declaring early for the NBA Draft, had his share of issues. Who doesn’t?
What makes me sick to my stomach, though, is all the present negativity, when a man has just died at such a young age. I know, I know. Many of us, myself included, felt perhaps anger or disappointment when he found himself ineligible for the 2012 Big Dance.
That year, the Orange had a remarkable run, reaching No. 1 in the polls, while going 30-1 in the regular season, including 17-1 in the Big East. A No. 1 seed entering the NCAA Tournament, the ‘Cuse advanced to the Elite Eight before bowing out to Ohio State. Syracuse sported a final mark of 34-3, a school record for victories.
But … so many of us have asked, “what if?” If Melo, the starting center on a tremendously
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talented team, played in March Madness, maybe SU gets to the Final Four, or wins the whole darn thing.
We’ll always wonder. However, it doesn’t matter all that much. College basketball is something we follow, and for which we are passionate, especially as it pertains to Syracuse. Still, it’s just a sport. A person’s life is way more important.
So, as head coach Jim Boeheim recently quipped, haters are gonna hate. Feel free to do so. It makes you look petty, and heart-less.
Me? I’m going to focus on the positive. As such, what follows below is my take on several of Melo’s best performances in an Orange uniform. Rest in peace, my friend. You are, and will always remain, a part of the ‘Cuse family.
So sad to hear the Fab Melo news! Too young to go. You will be missed!! RIP. Family First, Family Forever pic.twitter.com/ohTfViLOLL
— Coach Mike Hopkins (@Coach_Hopkins) February 12, 2017
The Best Moments of Fab Melo’s Syracuse Basketball Career
Dec. 28, 2011: Melo registers 12 points, seven boards and a program-record 10 blocks, as No. 1 SU (14-0) blows out Seton Hall, 75-49.
Jan. 16, 2012: Melo pours in 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, helping No. 1 Syracuse (20-0) to a 71-63 triumph over Pittsburgh.
Feb. 4, 2012: In his first time back after a three-game suspension, Melo had a career-high 14 points, three boards and two blocks, as the No. 2 ‘Cuse (23-1) crushes St. John’s, 95-70, at Madison Square Garden.
Feb. 8, 2012: Melo totals 11 points, seven rebounds and six blocks, and the No. 2 Orange (24-1) get by No. 11 Georgetown, 64-61, in overtime.
Feb. 13, 2012: On the road, Melo collects 11 points, six boards, two steals and one block, and No. 2 SU (26-1) edges No. 19 Louisville, 52-51.
Feb 25, 2012: Melo tallies 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and No. 2 Syracuse (29-1) wins at Connecticut, 71-69.
March 5, 2012: The league’s coaches named Melo the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year. In his 30 games with the Orange, he averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, and his 88 blocked shots led SU.
June 28, 2012: Melo joins fellow sophomore Dion Waiters in getting selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Boston Celtics chose Melo with the 22nd pick.