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The Celtics drafted power forward Jared Sullinger from Ohio State with the 21st pick and Syracuse center Fab Melo with the 22nd. They closed the night by taking another member of the Orange in the second round, drafting Cuse forward Kris Joseph 51st.
Welsh, who covered a lot of NCAA basketball over the last two years, said Celtics fans be excited about the Fab Melo selection, despite the red flags that come with him.
“I do like him, and here’s why I like him. It’s hard to find and buy size,” said Welch.”Finding size means one of two things usually; it means you either have to pay a lot of money as a free agent or you have to have a high draft pick. The Celtics did not have to do either of those two things to get this young man.”
“Doing his games and seeing him develop… I really felt last year when he was playing at his best he was the most improved player in college basketball,” said Welch. “He couldn’t really be effective at all as a freshman. He couldn’t run up the court for more than three possession. He weighed about 192-pounds, a lot of which was fat.”
“Last year, he made a huge jump. He came back in shape; he lost 45-pounds coming into the fall,” he said. “I was there the first day of practice, and I was just amazed at the change in his body. That in itself showed me he went home and worked.”
“Offensively, you have to put his game in a box; which means don’t run plays for him,” said Welch. “You can run lobs to the rim for him, run the pick and roll for him because he’s right at the rim. He’s got very good feet as an ex-soccer player.”
“He blocks shots, but he can also get outside the lane and take charges. That’s something Celtics fans are going to be amazed about for a big guy,” Welsh added. “As a rookie, those little things you can do on the floor — the dirty work type things that aren’t in the box score that don’t demand you have the basketball — are all a big plus.”
Who can Melo be compared to in the NBA today? And what is the biggest concern that goes with the 22-year-old?
What does the drafting of two big-men mean for Kevin Garnett’s future in Boston?
Also, how does Welsh think Austin Rivers will do in the NBA.