Brazilian 7-foot center Fab Melo listed his final four choices for schools in this order — Louisville, Syracuse, Florida and Miami.
Melo, the seventh-ranked overall player in the Class of 2010, told me he wants to commit next week before he leaves to visit family in Brazil. However, a source close to Melo told me Wednesday, “He’s not going to Florida, I can tell you that.” The source said it will probably come down to Syracuse and Louisville.
Melo attends Sagemont High in Weston (outside Fort Lauderdale) but stays with a relative. His parents live in his native Rio de Janeiro.
Though the consensus among AAU coaches and recruiting analysts is that Melo is heavily leaning toward Syracuse, he told me following a game at the AAU championships in Orlando that wasn’t true.
“I don’t really know yet,” Melo said.
Melo said he enjoyed his visit to Florida last June and liked the campus and the coaches.
” It’s a great school for playing my position, center.” Melo said. “They have had a lot of good big men.”
Melo has nimble feet for a big guy, which comes from playing soccer growing up in his native Brazil. He played forward. At 7-foot, 270 pounds charging toward the net with the ball, he must have been a goalie’s worst nightmare.
Melo would like to use those nimble feet to continue to improve defensively. “I want to be able to go out and guard guards,” Melo said.
In the paint, Melo is a space-eating, rebounding machine. Though his offensive skills are developing, Melo often gets to the line and is an above-average free-throw shooter.
Melo also said he has a good relationship with new Florida assistant coach Rick Pitino Jr. “he was the first guy to recruit me, 10-11 months ago.” Melo’s AAU coach with the Florida Rams, Matt Ramker, coached ex-Florida big man Marreese Speights and current Gator big man Kenny Kadji.
But all that probably won’t be enough to get Fab into a Florida uniform.
Other nuggets from AAU championships
* Florida 2010 commit Patric Young said he’s strong on his commitment and expects to sign his letter of intent in November. Had Young been on Florida’s roster last year, he would have been UF’s strongest player. Young has an SEC ready body for the low post (wide shoulders, strong arms) and excellent offensive low post skills. He told me he’s working on a lefty hook to complement the nice touch with his righty hook. The only weakness I saw was he could play more to his size crashing the backboards on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
* Stacey Poole Jr., son of former Gator early 1990s standout Stacey Poole, said he has “strong interest” in Florida and expects to commit by the end of August. The 6-foot-5 swingman has received scholarship offers from Florida, Miami, FSU, Indiana, Clemson and South Carolina. Kentucky also is starting to show interest in him. Poole acknowledged his struggling with the consistency of his jumper, but made up for it Wednesday by beating defenders off the dribble and finishing at the basket, “I can get by anybody,” Poole said. “I don’t care who it is.”