Beyond the Lottery: Fabricio del Melo

2012 NBA draft prospect Fabricio del Melo aka Fab Melo could soon join the ranks of Brazilian post players who have flourished in the league as of late. The 21-year-old, 7-footer has the basic components required to be an NBA big. And as the saying goes, “You can’t teach height and length.”

The 255-pound big man didn’t start playing basketball until the ninth grade and came to the U.S. in 2008 as a high school junior. As a senior at Sagemont High School in Florida, Melo earned McDonald’s All-America recognition. He was a member of Brazil’s Under-17 National Team and is currently a starter on the Brazilian National Basketball Team.

The pride of Juiz de Fora, Brazil played for HOF coach Jim Boeheim for two years at Syracuse University before declaring for the draft. Melo worked hard to shed 30 pounds and to improve his quickness and help-side D when he arrived at Syracuse. He was named the 2012 Big East Defensive Player of The Year and averaged 2.9 blocks per game during his breakout season.

Although Melo’s skills and footwork still need improvement due to his late start on the court, his game and competitiveness have benefited from all of his international experience. He has above average mechanics and can hit the mid-range jumper, which could translate into a deadly NBA weapon with his size and length. Melo possesses a natural feel for positioning in the paint and can grab offensive boards and score easy put-backs.

Melo is no sure bet. He had a variety of academic concerns while at the ‘Cuse, and that’s one of the reasons why he’s projected to be chosen in the 18 to 24 area on June 28th in Newark. However, his upside is tremendous, and many hoops experts feel that if the right pro team grabs him, Melo could be one of the steals of the 2012 NBA Draft.