In a move that was to be expected, Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo will leave school and enter the NBA draft, the school announced Thursday afternoon.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress reported on Monday that Melo had signed with an agent, making the move inevitable, with the school officially confirming the news Thursday.
“Being able to play professional basketball has been my dream since I first starting playing this game and now I have the opportunity to accomplish that dream,” said Melo in a statement. “Coach Boeheim, Coach Hopkins and the rest of the Syracuse staff have helped me develop as a player and as a man and I will always be appreciative for what they’ve done for me.”
The 7-foot native of Brazil averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks for the Orange in 2011-12, which was a significant improvement over his freshman season.
Melo came into his sophomore in much better shape and became the anchor in the middle of the Syracuse zone for much of the season.
He missed seven games on the year due to academic issues, including the entire NCAA tournament. The Orange were 29-1 when Melo was in the lineup and their season ended with a 77-70 loss to Ohio State in the Elite Eight.
Melo is projected to be drafted toward the end of the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.
To replace Melo next season, Syracuse already has 6-9, 275-pound DaJuan Coleman, a McDonald’s All-American, and is still in the running for highly coveted No. 1 prospect Nerlens Noel.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.