This, unlike another headline that might be on this front page, is not an April Fools joke. Jim Boeheim is now the former coach of the Syracuse basketball team and currently the hall of fame coach at Connecticut. Well, I assume it's true since that's what #1 rated recruit Brandon Knight said last night when being interviewed after the McDonald's All-American game.
There's Kentucky that "will always have a good program as long as they have a good coach," there's Syracuse, "another number one seed playing deep into the tournament," there's Florida with their "back-to-back national championships," and then there's UConn who has "a hall of fame coach in Coach Boeheim."
Until Brandon snubs us for Kentucky (which everyone seems is inevitable) what he says goes. Whether or not Jimmy B chooses to act accordingly is up to him, but for the time being I'll be pretending Jimmy B is a traitor who left us for UConn and Mike Hopkins will be leading 'Cuse on a season of vengeance. Or something like that. Incidentally, Brandon had a mediocre game given the expectations, scoring 9 points (3 for 11 and a 3-pointer), 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 20 minutes. But he did sink the game-winning shot for the West.
In more accurate and related-to-Syracuse news, signed, sealed and soon to be delivered Syracuse recruit Fab Melo also played in the McDonald's All-American game last night. And while he only had 2 points, his 7 feet, 265 man pounds were a presence on the court, pulling down 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 4 assists in 19 minutes. The word on Fab Melo is positive, everyone agreeing he looks to be in better shape than ever and is active on both sides of the floor. And while some think he could be a force in the Big East next season for the Orange, he certainly has a lot of learnin' and growin' to do; the kid's only got a year of American high school basketball experience:
At his family's urging, Fabricio de Melo left Brazil 18 months ago; dreams of education and basketball were his luggage. Today he is, simply, Fab Melo, a name Ross came up with when he had trouble pronouncing Melo's name.
Melo played soccer while growing up — and up.
Finally, his soccer coach sent him to see a basketball coach. Melo was a member of the Brazilian 17-under junior national basketball team before coming to the United States. He sat out his junior season due to Florida High School Athletic Association transfer regulations, but he was allowed to practice with his high school team. He also hit the AAU circuit, where he opened the eyes of coaches across the country.
This makes me a little concerned about our expectations for him to jump right in to the rotation next year. Obviously he has had a busy senior year, but the level of play from high school to the Big East, even for an all-star, is huge. On the flip-side, this means his potential could be off the charts. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of him next season. And by that I mean I'm hoping Andy passes on his fantastic blazer of many colors for Fab Melo to wear.