One of the schools at the top of his list – and the team many close to Melo say is ‘the' team to beat: Louisville.
Rick Pitino has made clear Melo is the Cardinals top 2010 target. The UofL coach was in Cincinnati Monday to watch the star prospect and he was back Tuesday morning to see Melo again. Pitino wasn't the only head coach watching – and hoping for a commitment. Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Florida's Billy Donovan also were courtside.
After leading his team to a lopsided victory over the Kentucky Gators – a game he dominated the paint while scoring 13 points, Melo told InsideTheVille.com that Louisville, Syracuse, UConn and Florida State are his "top four schools." He said he's particularly interested in the Cardinals.
"Louisville's a good school and Rick Pitino is a great coach," said Melo. "It's a great school and they have great facilities. I really like Coach Pitino and Louisville."
Since coming to the United States from Brazil last year, Melo's stock has soared nationally. He went from unknown prospect to No. 5 in the Scout.com Top 100 virtually overnight. When he arrived in the U.S., Melo planned on attending Florida International University. He had no idea college basketball's elite programs would bang down his door.
Pitino was the first big-name coach to ‘discover' Melo last spring. Now, every major college coach in the nation knows his name – and his game.
"Rick Pitino was the first guy to see me and when he started recruiting me I was like ‘Oh my god," Melo said. "He told me he would work me out hard and help get me to the NBA. They've been with me a long time and that helps."
Melo grew up playing soccer in Brazil. He also tried volleyball. But basketball, which he took up at 14, will likely be the sport he'll make his money. Melo gets his size (he's 7-0, 270) from his family. His father also stands 7'0, while his brother and mother stand 6'8 and 6'3. Melo said he calls his family frequently to stay in touch and he'll head home for a visit next month.
Before he heads back to Brazil, Melo plans to announce a college decision.
"I'm looking for style of play, who I will be playing with, a program I can go into and play right away my freshman year and a coach that can help get me to the NBA," Melo said.
Melo has a busy schedule the rest of this month that will take him to Massachusetts, Las Vegas and Florida. Along the way, Melo will sit down and make a college decision. One college coach will be very happy with his decision.
It looks like Rick Pitino has a great shot at being that coach.