Fab Melo declares for NBA draft

Updated: April 5, 2012, 5:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse center Fab Melo is entering the NBA draft after a breakout season in which he twice got held out because of eligibility issues.

"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," Melo said in a statement released by the school.

The 7-foot sophomore from Brazil made the announcement on Thursday. He averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds for Syracuse (34-3) this past season. He led the Big East in blocks per game and was named the conference's defensive player of the year.

Melo missed three games in late January because of an academic issue, was reinstated, and just before the start of the NCAA tournament was ruled ineligible again and did not play another game.

The Orange, the East's top seed, still advanced to the round of eight before a loss to Ohio State deprived them of a berth in the Final Four.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.