Update at 5:45 PM: According to court papers obtained by CNY Central, the incident occurred at about 2:15 PM on Monday. Melo is accused of reaching through the driver's side open window of a 2003 Chevrolet Impala and breaking the turn signal arm from steering column, leaving the turn signal control, high beam control and wiper blade control inoperable.
Syracuse University Athletics had no comment on the matter Wednesday, but a statement released by SU's senior vice president for public affairs Kevin Quinn read "As a matter of federal law and University policy, we can't speak about specifics of any criminal and/or University student disciplinary matter, other than to indicate if the individual is currently an enrolled student. I can tell you Fab Melo is currently an enrolled student."
Head coach Jim Boeheim referred all questions to the university's public affairs office, which declined comment.
Original story from Wednesday morning:
A Syracuse University basketball player was in a different kind of court Wednesday morning, to answer a criminal charge against him.
Orange center Fab Melo was arraigned in Syracuse City Court on a charge of misdemeanor fourth degree criminal mischief.
Syracuse Police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan says the 20-year-old Melo, of Slocum Heights Drive in Syracuse, got into a domestic-related fight with his unidentified girlfriend on Monday and allegedly damaged her car. Connellan says the girlfriend did not report the incident until Tuesday, when she contacted the Onondaga County District Attorney's office. The DA's Office then referred the incident to Syracuse Police.
Connellan says Melo voluntarily surrendered Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty. He was accompanied to court by SU associate head coach Bernie Fine. After the arraignment, Melo was released on his own recognizance.
Judge James Cecile issued an order of protection against Melo, ordering him to stay away from the girlfriend. She is also a local college student.
Melo, whose full name is Fabrecio de Melo, just completed his freshman year at SU where he started for most of this past season. He is a 7' tall native of Brazil, and attended Sagemont High School in Westin, Florida. He was a higly-regarded recruit, earning McDonald's All-America status, but struggled with injuries and the skill level in his first year at SU and his playing time was sporadic.
Melo was the preseason Big East rookie of the year, but never lived up to the hype, averaging just over 2 points and just under 2 rebounds in 24 starts.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.