Fab Melo Takes a Wrong Turn
It’s hard to make a confident judgment about what might happen to Fab Melo in the wake of a couple bad decisions he made over Memorial Day weekend until all the facts are in. At the moment, we know that he caused some damage to his girlfriend’s car and was arraigned on charges, which resulted in a protection order filed against the rising sophomore. If recent history is any indication, what comes of the SU judicial board’s involvement, which may be necessitated by the woman’s standing as a fellow student, will end up being more relevant to Melo’s basketball future than whatever the Syracuse Police Department concludes.
For those looking for a precedent, you can look at Eric Devendorf’s assault incident from the winter of 2008, though it should be pointed out that the two incidents aren’t fully similar. As in Melo’s case, the victim in Eric Devendorf’s assault was a female student, and Devendorf was initially suspended by the judicial board for the remainder of the school year. A Syracuse Post-Standard report noted that at the time of the incident, Devendorf was already under probation from the school, a factor which weighed significantly in the board’s decision. Within a week, the suspension was reduced and Devendorf ended up missing just two games while completing board-mandated community service.
However, Melo is still under investigation from the Syracuse PD, and until more facts are uncovered, all we can do as fans is speculate. If there is any silver lining, it’s that this took place during the off-season, but it won’t make things go away any faster. Part of Jim Boeheim’s reputation as a player’s coach comes from his approach to managing his team’s conduct off the court, which is to say he lets his players make their own mistakes in hopes that the teachable moments benefit the player in the long run.
What’s also true is that as a result, you run into cases of players getting in their own way, and that’s what we could be seeing with Fab Melo. While I remain optimistic about his future at Syracuse, there are already plenty of good reasons for fans to be disappointed with what they’ve seen. After coming to SU with high school honors and an upbeat personality, his reception fell flat, as he was often spelled early due to foul trouble and being generally lost. He doesn’t need to provide any more points of frustration without even playing.
I’ll wait to see what comes of Melo’s June 14 court date before drawing any conclusions, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this takes some of the wind out of the sails from what’s been an otherwise pleasant offseason.