Fab Melo’s domestic disturbance gets grimmer

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The Fab Melo situation from yesterday?

Yeah.

That got real ugly, real quickly.

Let’s start with the Syracuse Post-Standard, who has some details on the incident:

About 9 a.m. on May 30, she and Melo got into an argument over a phone call she received from a male friend. Melo demanded she call back the male and tell him that she did not want to talk with him anymore because she was dating Melo. She said she called and told the man she couldn’t hang out with him anymore. Melo became mad, she said, because she didn’t make it sound like she was voluntarily calling off the communication. Later in the day, she told police it appeared that Melo had calmed down.

About 1:40 p.m., … Melo became angry after reading two comments from two different men on [her] Facebook wall, she said. Melo threw down his computer on the floor, damaging it. As soon as he realized he had damaged it, he began throwing it against the walls. She went to the apartment’s bathroom and shut the door. She soon left the bathroom, grabbed her belongings and left the apartment. She was in her car when Melo came out of the apartment, picked up some dirt and threw it on her. Melo walked behind the car and demanded she open the trunk. She refused. Melo approached the driver’s side, reached in the window and snapped off the turn signal control arm, which also controlled the car’s wipers and high beams. She noticed Melo was bleeding from the hand. “Here, you want my blood,” she quoted Melo as saying as he smeared blood on her shirt.

Yeah, that’s bad. What’s worse is that this isn’t the first time that Melo has gotten violent; the woman said they have a “volatile relationship” and that he has been physically violent with her four or five times before. It may also be the reason that Melo missed some time during the season. If you remember, back in mid-February, Melo went MIA from the Syracuse team. He wasn’t answering his phone and he wasn’t showing up to practice. He eventually missed two games as a result. The excuse given was that he was dealing with family problems back in Brazil. But according to Orange Fizz, a Syracuse blog, that may not be 100% true:

A source close to the situation tells The Fizz that a previous time Melo had been aggressive with the victim directly led to his suspension during the season. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, an incident occured on Wednesday, February 9th.

“Fab pushed his [girlfriend] to the ground. She had to go to the hospital. She had several bruises… she claimed she fell down the stairs.”

Following that, according to the source, Melo “turned off his phone and left. Coaches couldn’t get in contact with him. Two days later he said he was dealing with personal issues in Brazil.” The incident was never reported to the police. He was suspended for games Feb. 12 (Louisville) and 14 (West Virginia) and played a total of ten minutes over the next three games.

This is not good for Melo.

There is quite a bit that the public is willing to over look, whether you are a sports star or not. But violence against women — especially when the offender is a 7’0″ behemoth of a young man — is not one of those things. To be fair, we don’t know the truth of what happened. The incidents quoted above could be exaggerations by Melo’s girlfriend, and they could be just the tip of the iceberg of what has happened in their relationship. As Sean McNally of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician says, all we have to go on right now are the reports — reports from one of the better college hoops beats in the country and (what in my experience has been) a credible blogger — and those reports do not paint Melo is a very good light.

The question now must be where does Syracuse go from here.

Yes, Melo was a five-star recruit a year ago. But he was also one of the biggest disappointments in the class of 2010. Will Jim Boeheim be willing to keep Melo and the distractions he brings with him on the team for a measly 2.4 ppg, especially when he has Rakeem Christmas, another blue-chip big man, coming in next season? Boeheim’s track record says yes. He fought for Eric Devendorf when Devo was falsely accused of punching a woman in the face two years ago. He kept Jonny Flynn, Scoop Jardine, and Rick Jackson in the program when they were accused — and cleared — of sexually assaulting a women three years ago.

Those players were cleared by the Syracuse courts and the notoriously tough Syracuse Univeristy judiciary board.

This may only be the beginning of the Fab Melo saga.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.

Oakland’s Greg Kampe hosting charity golf event with big-name coaches

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Oakland head coach Greg Kampe hosted a successful charity event for cancer research two years ago by allowing people to bid online to play a round of golf with some of college basketball’s best coaches.

Kampe is back again this year as he’s hoping to eventually raise $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

According to a report from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Kampe has 11 high-profile names that fans can play with this year.

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State
  • Frank Martin, South Carolina
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee
  • Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
  • Chris Holtmann, Butler
  • Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
  • Greg Kampe, Oakland
  • Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
  • Steve Lavin
  • Fran Fraschilla
  • Bill Raftery

Fans can find more details about the auctions and all of the details here.

The minimum bid is $15,000 per coach. A “buy now” bid of $24,000 is also available.

Each round includes the following, according to the event’s website:

Up for auction will be 11 spectacular packages, featuring a private dinner with elite basketball coaches and VIPs, a one night stay at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Sunday, June 4, and an afternoon of golf on Monday, June 5 at Oakland Hills Country Club on the South Course. The winning bidders and their two guests will round out the foursomes with their selected VIP: Rick Barnes, Mick Cronin, Fran Fraschilla, Chris Holtmann, Tom Izzo, Greg Kampe, Steve Lavin, Frank Martin, Bill Raftery, Stan Van Gundy, or Kevin Willard.

There are a lot of great selections to choose from for this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine a better afternoon than playing golf with Bill Raftery and a few friends. There are some other tempting choices on this list, but that’s the one I would have to jump at.

If you think 137 players declaring for the draft is stupid, you’re probably stupid

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The NBA Draft’s full early entry list came out on Tuesday afternoon, and there were 137 underclassmen listed on it.

137.

For 60 spots in the NBA Draft, only 30 of which guarantee you a contract in the NBA.

And that’s before you factor in the 45 international players that also declared for the NBA Draft, as well as the crop of seniors — Josh Hart, Monte’ Morris, Jaron Blossomgame, Alec Peters — that are going to end up hearing their names called. All told, there are going to be roughly 200 players competing to be one of the 60 people that end up getting drafted on June 22nd, and you don’t have to be any good at math to realize that 200 is a much, much bigger number than 60.

This unleashed a torrent of bad takes on the decision of these players.

And bad may not be doing those takes justice.

Because the bottom-line is this: You cannot paint the decision on whether or not to go pro with a broad brush.

For some players, making money of any kind is something they need to do to support their family, whether it’s what they’ll get with a first round guarantee, the $75-100,000 they’ll get for making a training camp roster to subsidize their time in the D-League while teams develop them or the money they can make in the D-League or overseas. You don’t know what their financial situation is. Maximizing their ability to capitalize on every available dollar they can make off of their athletic gifts may be more important than working towards a degree.

And it’s worth noting here that a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way to make a living in professional basketball. To say nothing of the money that can be made overseas or the number of second round picks and undrafted players that make guaranteed money — which is more than you probably realize — it needs to be noted that D-League salaries are getting a bump this year with the new CBA.

The NBA has also instituted something new called a “two-way contract”. Without getting into the legalese, it’s essentially a retainer worth well into the six figures that they will be able to give to two players that will allow them to retain that player under contract while sending them between the D-League and the NBA roster. In a sense, it creates an extra 60 NBA roster spots for players that have 0-3 years worth of professional basketball on their résumé.

Some players are simply declaring without signing with an agent because they want to get feedback directly from NBA personnel on what their professional prospects. Some will hear that they need to return to school to work on their body, or work on their jumper, or mature as a person to be able to handle everything that comes with being a professional. Others will be told they’re going to make a lot of money by staying in the draft, or that they need to go back to school because, frankly, they are not professional basketball players. Not getting invited to the NBA combine is a pretty good indication of where you stand in the eyes of NBA teams.

Still other players are putting their name into the draft to leave their options open should they be recruited over by the program they are a part of. Take Frank Jackson, for example. If he can return to school and thrive as Duke’s point guard, maybe he turns into a top 20 pick. But what happens if Trevon Duval, the best point guard in the Class of 2017 and a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, picks Duke? Would it be in Jackson’s best interest to come back to Duke when he won’t be playing the position that he needs to learn to play to turn himself into a lasting NBA player?

Jackson, like the roughly 100 underclassmen that have declared without an agent, has until May 24th to make his decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. Until then, he can return to school without damaging his eligibility.

The entire reason that the NCAA changed their rules to allow players to test the waters is so that they can make the most important decision of their lives with as much information as humanly possible. This thing exists for the sole purpose of allowing the kids to have as much knowledge about their options as possible.

And that is exactly what these kids are doing.

So the idea that this rule, or players taking advantage of that rule, however high that number may be, is a bad thing is stupid.