Friar Basketball

August 29 Quick Hits: On Ledo, Florida’s Monster Class, Bird and Gavitt’s Relationship


1. The Ricardo Ledo Watch is at fever pitch now that he has joined his fellow freshman class on their move in day.  Friarblog posted a picture of Ledo on campus today that a Friar fan snapped, which some took as a positive sign in regards to his pending eligibility, but it’s worth noting that several players enrolled in classes a year ago and did not get final word on their eligibility until October, most notably Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor at Kansas.  Of course, locally Providence fans remember Kiwi Gardner being deemed ineligible the week of the Friars’ first exhibition game.

Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal noted today that the hope is word on Ledo’s status will be known by the end of the week.

Ledo is one of several high profile recruits awaiting word on their eligibility.  Both North Carolina State’s Rodney Purvis and UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad are All American level recruits who could make or break Final Four contenders.  Purvis and Ledo may be the top scoring guards in the class of 2012, while Muhammad is the best freshman I’ve seen in this class.

2. Providence was in on Texas power forward Jordan Mickey early, but it didn’t come as a big surprise when the Friars weren’t listed on the final list of ESPN’s 44th ranked player.  Winning recruiting wars for top 50 players from Texas will be a difficult chore at PC.

3. Billy Donovan continues to get it done on the recruiting trail.  Only two of ESPN’s top 10 players in the class of 2013 have committed at this point – both are Florida-bound.  #7 Kasey Hill is a Florida point guard and he’ll be flanked by power forward Chris Walker (#8, also a Florida native), and Donovan isn’t done yet.  Hearing strong rumblings that Boston superstar Wayne Selden is leaning towards the Gators as well.  Selden is ranked thirteenth in the class of 2013.

4. South Florida was able to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament a year ago thanks, in large part, to their massive frontcourt.  The Bulls suffered a significantly blow this past week when junior college transfer Waverly Austin did not clear the school’s admissions, despite being deemed academically eligible.

Austin, perhaps the top JUCO big man in this year’s class is now to Oregon, and a solid USF core (point guard Anthony Collins and small forward Victor Rudd) takes a sizable hit.  With big men Ron Anderson and Gus Gilchrist moving on, Austin would have stepped into big minutes immediately for the Bulls.

5. This week the Friars hosted New York City point guard Dayshon Smith, who saw his stock take off after a solid summer on the AAU circuit.  A year ago Smith split time at point guard with BABC product Jonathan Joseph, but with Joseph off to Tilton this year Smith will run the show at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut (a school just under an hour from Providence).

Scouts note Smith is a very good three point shooter with developing point guard skills.

6. Jack McCallum’s book on the 1992 Dream Team is a terrific read.  For Providence fans the book is filled with tidbits on Dave Gavitt’s role in helping to pull together the greatest team ever assembled.

When of the more interesting notes came towards the end as Larry Bird reflected on his conversation with Gavitt when he decided to retire.  Gavitt offered him a role as a special assistant scouting college prospects and Bird accepted, noting, “You know what it came down to?  I wanted to hang around Dave Gavitt.  I love that man.  He was one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever been around.  And he wanted to hang out with me.  So I signed on.  It was that simple.”

7. Highlights of Dayshon Smith scoring 37 points on Notre Dame prep last season:

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