Largely undeveloped entering the season, Melo has transformed into a defensive star for top-ranked Syracuse. He ranks among Big East leaders in blocks (2.9) and defensive rating (91.3), and has increased his scoring of late, netting double figures in wins over Seton Hall, DePaul and Providence. After a maddeningly inconsistent freshman campaign, he's finally shown signs of becoming the impact performer he was touted to be in high school. The most telling sign of Melo's maturation is his playing time. The 7-foot Brazilian averaged 9.9 minutes last year, playing 20 just twice in 33 appearances. This season, he's played 20 minutes in 13 of 17 games, and -- though raw -- has wowed scouts with his commitment to conditioning. "He just couldn't play extended minutes last year," a scout said. "He seemed to get tired and I don't think Jimmy [Boeheim] trusted him in the game. Now, he's lost a significant amount of weight and is much more active and blocking shots. It tells us something about him. He was willing to work and it's really helped him."