Wherever the Celtics veterans can think of to send their rookies this season, at least two of the first-year guys will not have to go it alone. Kris Joseph and Fab Melo were teammates at Syracuse, and now they are on their way to being teammates in the NBA.
When Joseph, a four-year player with the Orange, heard he was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft, he was first relieved he was to be picked. Then he realized that he was relieved that he would have someone to share in his suffering as a rookie on a veteran-laden roster.
"I sent him a text immediately after I found out where I was going," Joseph said Monday, when he, Melo and first-round pick Jared Sullinger were introduced at the Jackson/Mann School. "The first thing I thought was that we'll be making the late-night runs to get whatever the veterans need together."
Two years ago, Joseph and Melo bonded at Syracuse over their mutual status as foreigners. Joseph was far more comfortable in the U.S., having grown up in Montreal, Quebec, and having played his final two years of high school ball at Archbishop Carroll in Washington, D.C. Melo spoke very little English, having left Juiz de Fora, Brazil, only two years earlier to attend the Sagemont School in Weston, Fla., so Joseph took Melo under his wing.
Together they sampled dining options in greater Syracuse, from soul food to sushi, and Joseph helped Melo through the various troubles that pocked his two years in college. Never did it occur to either one that they might end up breaking into the NBA on the same team.
"I was very happy," Melo said. "I'm very happy to have one of my closest friends with me."
Within a few months, they may become as familiar with the restaurants of Boston as they are with the ones in Syracuse. For their sake, hope that Kevin Garnett never actually orders them to bring him anything from White Castle. Sadly, there are no White Castle locations in Massachusetts, according to the company's website, and it would be quite a drive to get to the closest one in New York.