I’m not happy about writing this. I want to make that very clear right now. I – like most of my fellow Friar journalists – didn’t even want to write about Ledo in the draft this year. If we could have it our way we all would’ve been watching Ledo next season in a Friar uniform. Obviously that didn’t happen, so instead we all wanted to write about Ledo beating the odds – to be the exception to the proverbial rule – and get drafted in the first round. Shake the commissioner’s hand, put on the hat, having highlights of…some game he was in play while all the analysts say their bit.
There might’ve been some sort of redemption in that story, right? But instead we’ve ended up with the brilliant kid in high school who could get into Harvard no problem if he just was patient and applied himself, but instead chose to believe he was a shoe in based on what he was told.
Guess what? He didn’t get in. He got called at 43 overall, with talent that people have barely heard of going well before him. He’s going to be playing on the Bucks next year (or the Mavs. Or the Sixers. Or the Hawks. Look I have no idea honestly, it’s chaos right now. But I think it’s the Mavs.) and that’s assuming he makes the team. We all know the story of second round picks.
But you know what? I want to look at this from a different perspective. All we’ve heard since April 15 is “Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo, Ledo…Ledo.” What about us? The fans? The coaching staff? The program? The Ricky Ledo saga is officially over, but what’s this mean for everyone else?
Let’s talk about it.
[Update: I can't believe I have to actually say this but to clarify, upset does NOT equal "angry to the point of insulting a kid who made a mistake." We're a great fanbase, let's have our attitude on this reflect that.]
Fans have a right to be upset: You do. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a right to be upset. We saw a kid with a world of talent come through those doors and practice for an entire year, work his ass off in the classroom and seem genuinely committed to be at Providence College. We all breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t bolt right after the NCAA partial qualifying ruling, was enrolled second semester and looking enthusiastic on the bench.
We all really wanted to believe he’d stay. And the craziest part? We wanted him to stay because it was what was best for him.
Look, nobody was stupid to this kid’s history. We knew RIGHT AWAY what his deal was. Four high schools, trouble off court, desperate need of a mentor – blah blah blah, WE KNOW. But he had a real chance at Providence to put the past behind him and, in a way, get the chance to leverage his talents to an opportunity he deserved. The Big East. A hometown hero. The return to prominence. He would’ve learned how to escape the hardships of his past from a coach who literally did the exact same thing from the exact same city. Oh my god it’s a Samuel L. Jackson movie in the making! He would’ve turned a new leaf and, when he entered the draft, he would’ve been a top pick and proved everyone wrong! Damn it, we wanted that so bad we could taste it!
…and that’s not happening anymore.
Ledo made his own choice, he’s the one who has to live with it: He didn’t get any of the aforementioned because he made a mistake. That’s where it hurts the most doesn’t it? Nobody pulled him by the arm out of Providence College, and despite what many will say the people surrounding him that gave him bad advice were doing only that – giving him bad advice, not making the decision for him. At the end of the day he was the one who had to sit down with Cooley and either not recognize everything I mentioned above as legitimate, not believe in it enough or just simply not care. He chose to walk.
So what happens? Well, for the rest of the fans they have to wonder “what if?” but they’ll move on. Guess what, we still talk about Shammgod and if he hadn’t left early but that’s in the past now. Tim Duncan’s recruitment to PC is lore in the anal’s of Friar hoops history [I know I spelled it wrong. I was tired and it's too funny to change]. Ledo will be just another story in the same vain. We’ll move on. New – and dare I say better? – talent will come to the program. We will get there.
But what happens to Ledo? He doesn’t have a chance to turn back the clock and undo this mistake. He’s not going to get a second chance at the draft, college or anything else. Time moves forward. Unfortunately what he believed was his great opportunity turned out to be just another premature turn on an outdated roadmap for the destination he’s been driving towards.
But let’s be clear – Ledo DID help the program: Hear me out on this.
Think back to the summer of 2011. A new coach had come in and was tasked to clean up the catastrophe his predecessor had left him.
The program was in shambles and clean up meant getting current players in line while bringing in the best possible talent. Ed Cooley, the new head coach of the Friars, needed to make noise and make it as loud as possible. The way to do that? Land New England talent. He got the ball rolling right away with Kris Dunn committing to the Friars, but you have to remember that it was the addition of Ricky Ledo that helped solidify Cooley as a recruiting force to be reckoned with. When Ledo committed it boosted Providence into the second slot on ESPN’s top recruiting classes, raising the school profile and the eyebrows of journalists aching for a good story on the little school in the Big East.
“BUT HE DIDN’T EVEN PLAY! HE JUST COMMITTED AND THEN NOTHING!”
Look, I’m not disagreeing on that – he didn’t play, he committed to play and that’s why we brought him in. But how do you want to remember this saga? Do you want to only remember what he didn’t do? Let’s at least acknowledge the following: Ricardo Ledo’s recommitment to Providence under Ed Cooley, at the time he recommitted, helped Providence turn a corner in their national perception as well as in their future recruiting efforts.
Am I saying that the number two somehow made us more desirable? In a way, yes, I am. But I’m also saying that it helped affirm a lot of what we wanted in a coach – someone who could bring in local talent and keep it here. Kris Dunn was a phenomenal get, but Ledo helped set in stone what we all wanted out of this. That made the school more attractive to prospective recruits. It wasn’t the only thing, and I’m not going to give credit solely to Ledo on that, but I’m not going to ignore the fact that it helped and neither should you.
It’s over; we can move on now: Since April 15th everyone wanted to know what would become of Ledo’s decision. Would it be the right one? Would he be a first round pick after never playing an actual game in college, or would he bust in the draft and be the idiot paddling up the dumb-dumb river?
Now we know the answers. There aren’t any more mysteries surrounding this chapter in PC history folks. He chose the draft over playing a season in college, and he went 43 overall. Just like that we have the conclusion.
But guess what guys? We still have a team. Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts are coming back for their last season to make some serious noise. Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock are ready to don the black and white for us. Kris Dunn, Josh Fortune, LaDontae Henton…guys, this is the end of the Ledo chapter, but the resurgence of Friar basketball is just beginning. Ed Cooley is still our coach. The Dunkin Donuts Center is still our court. Warrior Friar is still your favorite blogger. Are we going to let one bad decision from one half-player strip away what makes us who we are? HELL NO!
Sad to see you go Ricky Ledo, but like the conclusion to any good book it’s time to close this up and put it on the shelf. What I’m looking forward to cracking open next? The 2013-2014 season.
And guys, I think it’s going to be a great one.