Don't laugh at his statistics. Look at the dramatic improvement of this Brazilian 7-footer from season one to season two: 7.6 points per game up from 2.3, boosting his offensive rating from an average 90 to 109.2. Melo is feeling more comfortable operating around the rim, showing nice aggressiveness and taking more shots, while still converting at a high-rate (seventh in the Big East in effective field-goal percentage). His rebounding rate is not anything to ride home about, but his numbers per game have tripled to 5.6 in 23 minutes per game. Last season, Syracuse was just +2.8 points when their center was on the floor, but this season, the Orange are nearly 10 points better (+12.1) when Melo is there.
But most importantly, Melo is making an impact that isn't measured by any individual measure. In the three games he was suspended due to academics, Syracuse was out-rebounded 36-to-26.7 on average and the Orange only accounted five blocks a game. In the other 22 games with Melo in the lineup, Syracuse is +1 on the boards and averaged 7.8 blocks per game.
The sophomore has the physical attributes of an impact center at the next level- wide, 7-foot frame with room to grow still, long arms, and pretty mobile and athletic for a player of his size. With the current state of his offense game and basketball IQ (raw-to-very raw in both areas), scouts would love for Melo to stay another year and with that, he could potentially be a lottery pick in 2013.