Fab Melo Emulating Tim Duncan
At 7’0 and 250 pounds, Fab Melo was very quick to answer the question regarding what player he’s working to pattern his game after in the NBA.
“Tim Duncan,” said Melo.
That is definitely a good goal to have, but unlike Duncan, Melo’s place in the NBA draft is unknown. While he may have the size to make an immediate impact, his conditioning in the past has not been acceptable for NBA or even college standards. Because of that, he knows draft night could be interesting as he waits to hear his named called by David Stern.
“They said I could go anywhere from 12 to 27… Of course I want to go higher, but it doesn’t matter,” said Melo. “Wherever I get drafted I’ll just work to get my way up.”
Coming out of college, Melo is known for one thing mostly. As he continues to put in the work to improve other areas of his game, as well as his body, Melo knows his calling-card and is confident he can make an immediate impact.
“Defense,” said Melo. “I think I can go to any NBA team right now and help on defense.”
Offense is an area where he has needed work for awhile, but of course during the combine, Melo was doing his best to show he can improve on that side of the court. At Syracuse, he wasn’t needed to lead the team on offense and was allowed to utilize his strengths to help the team, but in the NBA, he is going to need a well-rounded game to last.
“I’ve been working on that,” said Melo. “I have a good post move. It’s just the thing I’m working with right now is experience. I’ve played basketball for six years, so I just need to get the experience to play one-on-one on the NBA pacing.”
To say the least, Melo had a very productive and interesting season at Syracuse this past year and credits being drafted into the NBA soon on one major change. He began the process of looking ahead to achieving his NBA dream over a year ago, which is a long time for someone who has only played the game for six years.
“What helped me the most was just changing my diet, doing the things I have to do like yoga and other stuff,” said Melo. “Those are the things that helped me change my body.”
The experience of the NBA combine is incredibly important for all players, but Melo believes he is making up for lost time after being ruled ineligible for the NCAA tournament. The NCAA tournament is incredibly important for players to show NBA scouts how well they are able to play under pressure, which can make a huge impact on where they may or may not be selected in the NBA draft. That is why Melo was happy to take part in the combine.
“It’s definitely an opportunity to get to the media and for the GM’s to get to know a little bit about me because a lot things weren’t me before this,” Melo said. “Just to get to know a little bit more about me.”
Some believe that staying another year in college would be beneficial for Melo, but with all the issues surrounding Syracuse now, people outside the situation believe that must play a role in Melo making himself eligible for the draft. He disagrees with that assessment, even though he knows there is still a lot of work to do.
“No, I’m feeling ready,” said Melo. “I think I’m definitely ready to play.”
The combine can be a stressful experience for some players, especially players such as Melo who, seemingly, have more to prove than others. However, Melo found the time at the combine to be productive as far as showing what he is capable of, what areas he continues to improve upon and he also found the time to be enjoyable.
“I’m able to show that I can move well for my size,” said Melo. “I changed my body, I changed my lifestyle, like a diet and everything and I showed that I have a good touch for a jump shot… A great experience to come in here and get to know the guys, get to know the GM’s and the coaches. It’s a great experience for me.”
Melo is about to achieve one dream, which is of being drafted into the NBA. Yet, there is another goal he is hoping to achieve this year as well and that is to play for the Brazilian National Team in the 2012 London Olympics. He hopes to soon be able to represent his country.
“They invited me to go right now, but because of this process I can’t be there,” said Melo. “I hope they invite me after the draft because I want to be there for the Olympics.”
With all of the stressors of the past year and goals for the future still out there to achieve, Melo is taking life day-by-day with the proper attitude. He has a long way to go in his development as a basketball player, but if he continues on the path he has travelled in the last year, he will get there.
“I feel like it’s going to be a tough adjustment, but I’m very coachable,” said Melo. “I’m willing to learn.”
In HOOPSWORLD’s most recent mock draft, Fab Melo goes to the Atlanta Hawks with the 23rd pick. What are your thoughts, NBA fans? Would Melo be a good fit in Atlanta?