Like a lot of you, I was curious to find out more about this man of mystery. Through my google searches I came to learn some interesting things about our new second round draft choice. This is by no means supposed to be a comprehensive profile or anything, just a few video clips and news stories that I thought would give us a little better understanding of who the heck this guy actually is.
The most recent video clips of him are mainly workout/draft prep videos of him doing shooting drills and such. For a decent look at him in game action you need to look at these high school clips, where he just dominates the competition and looks like a combination of Kyrie Irving and Tracy McGrady:
Now I hear what you're thinking: yeah he's got some nice handles, and his jumper looks nice, but destroying a bunch of New England prep schoolers is hardly going to convince you either way of his NBA ability, right?
Well here's another video of him working out against a pretty notable NBA player: John Wall
Pros: consistently shows ability to beat Wall off the dribble. Length alters or blocks a number of Wall's shots on the other end
Cons: unclear how hard Wall is actually going in this workout (in a few instances Wall is nowhere in sight as Ledo uncorks another one of his gorgeous jumpers).
All in all though, after looking at countless videos where Ledo destroys some poor white kid from Connecticut's soul, it's nice to see at least some tape of him doing the same to NBA caliber athletes.
Of course, a huge concern regarding Ledo has been his so called character concerns. He was ineligible for his freshman year at Providence, and of course there is that by-now infamous quote: "he's the single worst person I'd ever been associated with on a basketball court ... program killer"
Now that kind of quote certainly gets the spidey senses tingling to I did a quick google search with some variation of "ricky ledo character concerns". Here's what I found.
The first thing you need to know about Ledo is that he's had an extremely tough upbringing.
"A 6’7, 195 pound shooting guard, Ledo’s talent always stood out. What also stood out to observers was an immaturity common among youngsters, but in Ledo’s case, that was compounded by a youth spent in a sometimes violent, unforgiving, inner-city world. He saw his father shot as a child. His surrogate father was shot and murdered."
Current Providence head coach Ed Cooley grew up in those same streets as Ledo however, and this allowed him to form a bond with the enigmatic Ledo, convincing him to sign with Providence over the other basketball powerhouses recruiting him at the time (Kentucky, West Virginia, UConn, and Syracuse were all said to be in the mix). That bond with Cooley (and his desire to stay close to home) likely helped convince him to stay in school for a year despite being ineligible to play and getting interest from Europe.
According to Ledo, there was a legitimate reason for him switching schools so often in high school (he went to 4 schools in 5 years).
- Bishop Hendricken: left because he thought he should be playing at a higher level competition than the Rhode Island Interscholastic League if he wanted to get noticed nationally.
- St Andrew's in Barrington: Ledo says he felt "unwanted and out of his element". Some immaturity concerns, but the guy was still just a kid at this point
- South Kent: no problems here, was on a loaded team so didn't put up big numbers but was reportedly a happy camper.
- Notre Dame Prep (Massachusetts): after a giving Providence a verbal commitment after his year at South Kent, Ledo decided to finish up his high schooling at ND. Once he got there, he backed out of his agreement with Providence and opened his recruitment back up. Were people at ND getting in his ear and being a bad influence?
On September 4, 2011, Ledo announced, "I'm going to Providence. I want to stay home. I grew up in Providence and it feels like the perfect fit. I trust coach Cooley. He's one of the reasons that Providence can get back on top. That would be a great experience to play with him. I can't wait." Ledo also decided to leave Notre Dame Prep and re enroll at South Kent, where he would play and use the year to improve his academic standing.
Of course, Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd was none too pleased by any of these developments. "The worst thing is for (Ledo) to rush into any decision," Hurd told the Providence Journal. "It's important for Ricky to get back to (Notre Dame Prep) campus, get a grip on where his academics and recruitment all stands, and look forward to an important year."
What made Hurd’s statement curious, was that normally players who needed to focus on their academics usually benefit from making a college decision and by putting recruiting and all the distractions that come with it, behind them. Yet, in this case, Hurd seemed determined to see Ledo’s recruitment continue.
While at Providence, by all accounts he was a good teammate and student
There was a glimmer of hope that perhaps he would get to suit up for the second half of the season, provided Ledo took care of his work in the classroom. Ledo said he earned a solid grade point average his first semester, but still fell short of the requirements needed to become eligible
Ledo was a model teammate, going hard in practice, enthusiastically imploring teammates to succeed during games and performing admirably in the classroom. When asked in the preseason how he would cope with not playing for a year, Ledo replied, "I can do my job as a good teammate by pushing the guys in practice and making them better."
He also hardly left PC on a bad note (despite never playing a game for them before leaving)
Providence head coach Ed Cooley built a relationship with Ledo and coached him throughout the season in practice and said, “We want to wish Ricky all the best and thank him for his efforts this season. He will always be a member of the Friar family.”
Finally, what did Dallas see in him to convince them that his issues where just some dumb mistakes made by a teenager without guidance, rather than him being some evil program killing malcontent?
Reportedly, he interviewed very well:
Not only does he pass the eye test with flying colors, he has also interviewed very well. Several executives raved about Ledo after meeting with him, describing him as intelligent and impressive. Rather than trying to avoid topics like his ineligibility at Providence or habit of switching high schools (he attended four different schools), Ledo answered every question that teams asked. He’s trying to be as transparent and honest as possible.
It remains to be seen whether he's matured enough by now to take the tough coaching he's going to get from Rick Carlisle and his staff, but in my own personal opinion I don't think he's some kind of malcontent. Maybe a little mentally fragile (which is understandable considering his background) which led to his bouncing around, but he doesn't sound like a horrible guy, that one (anonymous, I might add) quote notwithstanding.