Fab Melo. It's one of the coolest names in college basketball, but is it the truly the real name of the Syracuse star who won't compete in the 2012 NCAA Tournament due to an eligibility issue?
Melo's full given name is Fabricio De Melo, and he was born June 20, 1990 in Belo Horizante, Brazil.
Basketball couldn't have been further from Melo's mind as a youth growing up in the South American country, where soccer reigns supreme.
But his height (Melo stood at 6-foot-8 inches tall by the ninth grade) made Melo an ideal basketball prospect.
The 7-foot center was highly recruited in 2010, with seven other college basketball powerhouses vying for his services other than Syracuse.
Fab Melo was ranked the No. 2 center of college basketball's 2011 class, according to rivals.com.
Melo was bowled over by Syracuse's facilities and developed a tight bond with Jim Boeheim, the coach of the Orange, so when the time came to hear the offer, he accepted the full scholarship much to his family's delight back in Brazil, according to Melo's biography on bettingbasketball.org. After arriving in the upstate New York town without a stitch of winter clothing, which receives an average of 121.2 inches of snow each year due to the lake effect from nearby Lake Ontario, Fab Melo saw his first snowfall there and had to adjust quickly to the differences in climate from his previous sunny Florida and Belo Horizonte homes.
As a 7-footer, Melo would have been one of the most watched and exciting players competing in the 2012 tournament.
However, Melo was declared ineligible to play in the annual tournament, although Syracuse did not divulge details of the decision.
Syracuse University sophomore men's basketball center Fab Melo did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh, and will not take part in the NCAA Tournament due to an eligibility issue, the Athletics Department announced online Tuesday. Given University policy and federal student privacy laws, no further details can be provided at this time.