Monday, September 5, 2011

Ricardo Ledo is a risk Ed Cooley has to take

Ed Cooley has already flexed his muscles on the New England prep school hoops scene.

Just two weeks after managing to convince Kris Dunn, a CT native and a kid many consider to be one of the top two or three point guards in the country, to commit to Providence, the Friars new head coach has now landed Ricardo Ledo. Ledo, a high-scoring 6'6" wing, currently sits at 14th in our Consensus Recruiting Rankings, giving Cooley two of the nation's top 20 recruits.

That, my friends, is how you make an entrance.

Think about it -- when was the last time every college hoops site in the country was talking about Providence? When was the last time you, as a fan, truly thought about Providence? Marshon Brooks put on a show a couple of times this past season, yes, but prior to that, the only time the Friars made national headlines was when their players were out getting in trouble. And that happened far too frequently under Keno Davis.

I'd go as far as to say that the 2012 recruiting class that Cooley is currently building has the potential to be as influential on the future of his program as Matt Painter bringing in Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. Its true. There are quite a few powerhouse prep schools in New England, an area that is currently booming when it comes to high school hoops talent. Get some local hype to surround your program, and who knows, maybe they actually have a shot at landing Boston native Nerlens Noel.

The key word in that last paragraph, however, is potential, as Jeff Goodman clearly lays out here.

You see, Ledo has all the telltale red flags that come with a high-risk, high-reward recruit. He's already been to four different high schools in four years and still does not have a high school diploma. This is also the second time that Ledo has been committed to the Friars, as he also gave a pledge to Keno Davis. Ledo has an attitude problem, he's generally not considered a good teammate and he lost 10 of his first 11 games on the AAU circuit this summer, something that simply shouldn't happen when you are a top level high school player.

Then there is also the fact that Ledo is a Providence native. While the key to recruiting at this level is keeping local kids local, the risk is that those players are not able to escape the bubble they grew up in. There are the pressures that old friends from "round the way" provide to miss class and put off doing work. There is the posse that shows up at every home game. There are the people that will be in Ledo's ear after every game, saying he isn't getting enough shots or that he's not getting the exposure he needs as a one-and-done prospect.

Just read this story from last season about the pressures Memphis native Joe Jackson faced as a star recruit for the Tigers.

And keep in mind, Jackson has his head screwed on considerably straighter that Ledo.

Cooley has to bring in Ledo. He can't allow a kid from his program's backyard to go elsewhere. Bringing him into the program -- assuming he eventually gets eligible to play -- is a risk, but its a risk that has to be taken.

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