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Why are we focused on Fab Melo’s academics?

Jul 3, 2012, 7:54 PM EDT

Fab Melo, Stephen Pagliuca, Jared Sullinger

It’s far from a secret for college basketball fans that Fab Melo had a tough time academically during his sophomore season at Syracuse.

In January, he was suspended for three games — including the Orange’s first loss of the season to Notre Dame — for an academic issue, one that reared its ugly head again in March, which is why Melo sat out the NCAA tournament.

And, as you might expect, the rookie has been hearing it from seemingly everyone in Boston. According to this report from ESPN Boston, Celtic GM Danny Ainge asked Melo if his business advisor Rodrigo was also his academic advisor. Head coach Doc Rivers said on ESPN Radio interview with Mike Lupica that “We have no tests” and that “we’re going to introduce you tomorrow and we’re going to do a Read to Achieve thing (with young students). Are you OK with that?”

Hilarious if you ask me.

I can’t wait to hear what Kevin Garnett has to say to Melo if he shows up late for practice or forget what he’s supposed to do on a specific play.

To his credit, Melo seems to be taking the ribbing in stride.

“It’s not a concern at all,” Melo said of his academic record. “I did what I had to do on the basketball court, my responsibilities, stuff like that. I did. I struggled with the school. And I don’t have to go to class now, so that’s something coach or the coaching staff won’t have to worry about.”

At this point, you have to hope that Melo’s career pans out. As Orange Fizz put it, “dumb and proud of it is no way to go through life.”

The irony here is that Melo’s academic record would be the second biggest concern I have about him as a prospect. No one seems particularly concerned about the fact that Melo had a “volatile relationship” with his girlfriend in college, one in which he was “physically violent four or five times” and resulted in his getting arrested. The episode seems quite disturbing:

About 9 a.m. on May 30, she and Melo got into an argument over a phone call she received from a male friend. Melo demanded she call back the male and tell him that she did not want to talk with him anymore because she was dating Melo.

She said she called and told the man she couldn’t hang out with him anymore. Melo became mad, she said, because she didn’t make it sound like she was voluntarily calling off the communication.

Later in the day, she told police it appeared that Melo had calmed down. About 1:40 p.m., in Melo’s apartment, he was showing her pictures using his MacBook computer. He asked her if he could see her Facebook wall. She said she agreed providing that Melo not get angry at what he reads.

Melo became angry after reading two comments from two different men on the Facebook wall, she said. Melo threw down his computer on the floor, damaging it. As soon as he realized he had damaged it, he began throwing it against the walls.

She went to the apartment’s bathroom and shut the door. She soon left the bathroom, grabbed her belongings and left the apartment. She was in her car when Melo came out of the apartment, picked up some dirt and threw it on her. Melo walked behind the car and demanded she open the trunk.

She refused.

Melo approached the driver’s side, reached in the window and snapped off the turn signal control arm, which also controlled the car’s wipers and high beams.

She noticed Melo was bleeding from the hand.

“Here, you want my blood,” she quoted Melo as saying as he smeared blood on her shirt.

But you’re right. Bad grades are a much bigger issue.


  1. acdavis - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Whatever, it an argument between two adults. He didn’t hit her or threaten her…

  2. going4iton4th - Jul 4, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Yes, perfectly normal perfectly healthy—I would worry about Melo’s behavior as an employer as well. I suppose we’ll see how it goes for the young man with the Celtics. As far as academic record the kid said himself “no big deal” same with Doc. He wouldn’t be the first athlete to not succeed in academics and will not be the last.

  3. scoregasmic - Jul 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I hope those two comments above we’re sarcastic…

  4. 49erminer4life - Jul 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    This happened last year, also what would happen if any of us went to a college in brazil. Let the kid live, judge him by his pro career.

  5. hamai - Jul 4, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    He’s a self-made kid from a third-world poor family, came to US alone as a teenager. No family, no knowledge of English, almost none of basketball. Improved his game in school, and in college, changed his body and speed.

    He was bound to make mistakes and get confused with the attention and lack of family support. He learned many things in so short time, cut him some slack.

  6. metalhead65 - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    he won’tt care about how dumb people thinks he is when signs his contract and makes 10 times what those same people will in their whole lives. he was there to play ball ball and anything he may have learned was a bonus. at least he is upfront about it when he says now that he does not have to worry about grades he can concentrate on ball only.

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