by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn
There is one American who is assured of being selected in this year’s NBA Draft without ever playing a college game. In fact, the last time anyone saw Ricky Ledo play was when he was mixing guys at South Kent. You may be thinking that the NBA imposed its ‘one and done’ rule back in ‘05, and you’re right. They did. You see, Ledo attended Providence; He just never played in a game.
Dominating in the super competitive New England prep school circuit, Ledo quickly established a name for himself as one of the best scorers in the Class of 2012. He was Providence’s top recruit in recent memory and expected to carry his city on his back. Unfortunately while he was killing it on the hardwood, he wasn’t doing it in the classroom. Ricky wound up being a partial qualifier and was forced to be a spectator during the ’12-13 campaign and watch his teammates on the hardwood. The team struggled and ultimately, Ledo decided that his best bet would be to bounce to the League.
This takes us to Houston, TX, where the 6-7 2-guard is training with John Lucas. The tutelage received by the former No. 1 pick and NBA head coach was priceless, both on and off the court. Lucas and Co. were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an immensely talented player, too.
“Ricky has an extremely high ceiling for such a young prospect,” Lucas’ right hand man Brian Merritt said. “He has so much room to grow and improve.”
The ball skills that he has for a shooting guard of his size are unmatched by anyone in this Draft. Ledo effortlessly shoots the NBA three with a fluid release and can create his own shot on anyone. His slick handle and vision for a big off-guard has led people to throw out comparisons to Jamal Crawford. There weren’t many guys who could stay in front of him at the high school level and that was the same case at Lucas’ gym. Shot creators like that don’t come a dime a dozen, which is why he has been a hot name among NBA teams.
Now while Ledo oozes with talent, there are question marks. He struggled with academics, didn’t always give great effort on the defensive end (although he has the tools), and hasn’t played in a real game in 15 months. Many of the aforementioned issues are why the 20-year-old’s draft stock has been all over the board. Merritt thinks that his natural talent should allow him to overcome some of these issues, though.
“Since he has been here, he’s really improved defensively,” he said of Ledo’s improvement on the other end. “He is really putting his length and speed on players.”
As for Ricky’s ultimate destination, it’s a crapshoot right now. Teams as high as the late lottery have expressed significant interest and it appears that his floor is to the Cavaliers at 33. Whether it’s first round or second round, there won’t be too many teams playing the pass line on Ledo.