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- Updated: April 9, 2013
Friartown will have to find a new obsession this summer.
For most of the past two summers Ricky Ledo, the homegrown basketball prodigy, dominated the headlines in Providence.
In 2011, Ledo capped a long, and at times unpredictable, recruiting process when he committed to Providence in September. Speculation about Ledo’s college destination had been a constant since he burst onto the scene by winning a Rhode Island championship with Bishop Hendricken in 2009, and peaked in the summer of 2011 as new head coach Ed Cooley began picking up the pieces of what Keno Davis had left for him.
By the time Ledo joined elite recruit Kris Dunn in committing to the Friars, a program in disarray just six months prior was making national headlines, with many recruiting pundits calling the pairing of Dunn and Ledo the best backcourt haul in the class of 2012.
Those who had obsessed over Ledo’s recruitment still had reason for concern.
If Providence fans held their collective breath in the summer of 2011 waiting to see if Ledo would commit to Providence, the following summer was not any easier.
After he wrapped up the 2011-12 season at the South Kent School as a 2nd Team All NEPSAC performer, Friartown was left to wonder if Ledo would be eligible to play his freshman season, after attending St. Andrew’s, South Kent and Notre Dame Prep in the three years following the state title at Hendricken.
When word came down in September 2012 that Ledo was a partial qualifier (able to practice, but not play in 2012-13), he said his intention was to play at PC in 2013-14, but only the naive felt fully certain that he’d don the black and white next season. He’d been unpredictable up to that point.
Friar fans kept an eye on seemingly everything he did this past year at Providence, ranging from his demeanor on the bench during games, to his 3.1 GPA in the first semester, and nearly everything in-between.
How hot was the Ricky hysteria? Prior to the NCAA’s ruling on his eligibility, a picture of the back of his head at freshman orientation found its way into the mainstream.
Yet here we are today after four years of tracking his every move, Ricky Ledo is entering the 2013 NBA Draft before having played for Providence.
By Tuesday afternoon, this news surprised only the most optimistic of optimists. Just a week ago there was little indication publicly that Ledo was close to making this decision. Last Friday I’d written that a source indicated he was leaning that way, and by Saturday night both GoLocalProv’s Scott Cordischi and NBC 10’s Frank Carpano reported that they were hearing that Ledo would declare for the Draft.
Monday night brought a report from the most reliable of Providence reporters, Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, who wrote that all indications were that Ledo would declare himself eligible.
McNamara had provided Friartown with fair warning back in February, nabbing a quote from Ledo in which he stated that he was assessing his options — a far cry from when he told Cordischi in September that he was a certainty to play for Providence next season.
* * *
“As much as I wanted to play for the Friars and help the team win a BIG EAST championship, I felt I could not pass up this opportunity to enter the NBA Draft now. I had a great experience this season and will always remember the great atmosphere for our games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. I appreciate all the support from the College, the fans, my teammates and the coaching staff, especially Coach Cooley. I love my teammates and I will always be a Friar.”
– Ledo in a statement released by Providence this afternoon.
With that, the Ledo era is over in Providence — over before it ever began, really, putting a wrap on a saga that spanned over four years and two different coaching staffs.
Friar fans are left to wonder how this past season’s 19-win team might have fared with a shooting guard who many believed was the best scorer in the class of 2012 on the roster. They’ll also be forced to wonder how he could have impacted what is shaping up as a very good 2013-14 group (more on the impact on them tomorrow).
The former possibly could have been answered had he not had such a nomadic high school career. Following a season at St. Andrew’s, he spent just a semester at South Kent before attending Notre Dame Prep in the spring of 2011 and completing his high school career back at South Kent in 2011-12.
In hindsight, the decision to leave South Kent only to return nine months later may have been the one that cost him the chance to play for the Friars. Ledo’s former classmates at Notre Dame Prep, Myles Mack and Sam Cassell Jr., were both deemed ineligible for the 2012-13 season as well.
Today, Ledo officially made the biggest decision of his life — bigger than when he left South Kent only to return, or committed for a second time to Providence.
Ricky Ledo is headed for the NBA Draft.
Email Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org