Things started off great ... Carmelo Anthony returned to Syracuse on Wednesday to try and inspire the basketball team to beat Virginia!
The speech was great, Melo said all the right things ... everyone seemed FIRED UP! And, that's when everything went wrong ...
The Orangemen proceeded to get DEMOLISHED by the Cavaliers in a 48 to 34 loss.
You read that right. Syracuse only dropped 34 points in a full 40-minute basketball game.
It's the lowest point total in Jim Boeheim’s 44-year coaching tenure, according to Syracuse.com.
As for Melo, his appearance was a surprise to everybody -- telling the players Boeheim didn't even know he was coming!
"I just want to let y'all know how important this is for me to be here on your guys opening night. [Boeheim] didn't even know I was coming."
Melo continued, "I wanted to be here for you guys. I know the excitement that's surrounding you guys right now. Nobody gonna give y'all a shot. Everybody gonna count y'all out. But, as long as you got each other right here, this is what matters."
Of course, Melo is a legend at Syracuse -- he led the 2003 basketball team to a national championship before bouncing to the NBA after one year.
But, the two sides are on good terms -- in 2009, Cuse named the practice facility after Melo.
Question now ... can they turn it around and bring the program back to prominence? We'll see, but it probably ain't gonna happen this year.