Former Syracuse center Fabricio de Melo, aka Fab Melo, a first round draft pick of the Boston Celtics in 2012, died in his sleep today in his homeland of Brazil. He was 26 years old.
He played two years at Syracuse after arriving with much anticipation. His interior defense and shot blocking was an integral ingredient in the 2012 Orangemen squad that won 34 games and went 17-1 in conference.
“He worked his tail off to become a really good player, and was a nice kid,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN when he heard the news earlier today. “We don’t know the cause yet. It’s so hard right now, so hard to believe. It’s a sad, sad day.”
Melo was suspended twice during the 2012 season and missed the NCAA Tournament due to academic struggles.
The Celtics selected the 7-footer with the 22nd pick in the 2012 draft spent much of the year with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League. The Celtics traded Melo to the Memphis Grizzlies in August 2013 and he was waived soon after. He signed with the Dallas Mavericks before the 2013-14 season but was waived again before the start of the regular season.
Over the last few years, he had been playing professionally in his home country of Brazil.