PC's Ledo declares for NBA Draft; Shammgod, Hart 'wish him the best'
Ricky Ledo now sets his sights on the NBA Draft after deciding to bypass his eligibility at Providence College.
PROVIDENCE â€“ Through all the twists and turns on his basketball journey, Ricky Ledo never once lost sight of what he interpreted to be the brass ring.
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Mentioning Ledo and the NBA in the same sentence is a parlor game thatâ€™s been en vogue for quite some time. The Providence native always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye when it came to pro hoops â€“ his tunnel vision so clairvoyant that the only matter left to itemize was to wait for Declaration Day.
In a four-paragraph press release that was issued from Providence College at the stroke of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Ledo announced that the time had come for him to take the plunge and apply for the NBA Draft. Itâ€™s off to the next phase for a talented, yet largely unproven 20-year-old, one who leaves PC with not a single minute of competitive college basketball under his belt.
For someone like God Shammgod, presently an undergrad assistant coach at PC and a person who can speak about the pros and cons of leaving school early, what Ledo ultimately decided shouldnâ€™t be viewed in a negative light.
â€śIâ€™m not blown away by (the news). I wish him the best,â€ť said Shammgod, the onetime Providence hoopster who entered the draft following his sophomore year in the spring of 1997. â€śPeople are saying that this is the weakest draft ever, but at the end of the day, itâ€™s every kidâ€™s dream to play in the NBA.
â€śThe only thing that people should do is just wish him luck and hope for the best,â€ť Shammgod added. â€śAt this point, everybody should give him the right information, the right people to work with, and go from there. If people really care, thatâ€™s what is needed.â€ť
There is some risk involved with the 6-foot-7 Ledo forgoing his four years of Friar eligibility. From his vantage point, the time has come to strike while the iron is hot.
â€śAs 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 the opportunity to enter the NBA Draft,â€ť said Ledo as part of the release.
â€śMost people make the best choice for the time that theyâ€™re in, not the time that may or will come,â€ť said Shammgod, the voice of experience regarding the world Ledo has chosen to enter. â€śWhen I came out, I wasnâ€™t thinking about 10 years from now. Most of them donâ€™t.â€ť
Mike Hart, the longtime successful head coach at St. Andrewâ€™s, mentioned that a couple of NBA teams phoned him regarding Ledo, who attended the Barrington school for one year (2009-10).
â€śFrom what I hear, Rickyâ€™s doing fine. Thatâ€™s a pretty big jump to the NBA and I definitely think that one day he has the potential to play in the league,â€ť said Hart. â€śIâ€™ll definitely be rooting for him and hope it all works out.
â€śI have so much respect for (Providence head coach) Ed Cooley and the job heâ€™s done that I would think it might benefit Ricky to go back just to be in that environment,â€ť Hart continued. â€śAt the end of the day, itâ€™s a decision that he had to make with his family and advisors.â€ť
In todayâ€™s NBA, players of Ledoâ€™s put-the-ball-in-the-net reputation are looked upon quite favorably. To evaluators, it matters very little that he sat out the 2012-13 season after being deemed a partial qualifier by the NCAA.
â€śThereâ€™s always risk involved, but if Ricky has the feeling that he can get drafted this year, then so be it and good luck,â€ť said Hart. â€śHe definitely has the ability to play in the league, but thereâ€™s been a lot of cautionary tales with the draft. Thereâ€™s 60 picks [in the NBA Draft spanning two rounds] and thereâ€™s a lot of guys who play basketball on this planet.â€ť
While his time at PC was short-lived, both Hart and Shammgod were in agreement that Ledo profited immensely from being around the stability that Cooley fosters.
â€śAny time a kid can spend with Ed Cooley, itâ€™s going to benefit him,â€ť Hart declared. â€śEd is going to tell you the truth and I canâ€™t think of a better person to serve as a role model for young people.
â€śThe more time Ricky can spend with Ed, the better off he would be, but thatâ€™s Rickyâ€™s decision,â€ť Hart delved further.
â€śI think Ricky made unbelievable strides in becoming a better person and a player. He was able to shake some of the stigmas that he has,â€ť said Shammgod. â€śIt would have been great for the PC fans to see him play, but all you can do now is help him prepare for what comes next.â€ť