Herb Ledee first came out to California in 1991, when he and his Nevada Wolf Pack opened the basketball season against the Golden Bears. He didn't know it then, but the Berkeley campus would wind up playing into his life in more ways than one.
When Ledee's son, 2018 four-star Jaedon Ledee, was old enough to start playing, he naturally trained him to be a point guard -- better than him, and, he hoped, better than Kidd.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1775946-for-mobley-cal-is-... "When he finally decided it was something he wanted to do, we really started working on making him the best player he could possibly be," Herb Ledee said. "He's been extremely blessed with having some really big growth spurts. When I started training him to play basketball, the best point guard at the time was Jason Kidd, so I actually started working him to be a better-shooting Jason Kidd. By the end of eighth grade, he was already 6-5, so that let us know that we were going to have to start putting him in another position. He played point guard, and he was 6-7 by the end of his freshman year, and started at point guard, and his sophomore year, he moved to the three, and now, he's right at 6-9, and he's a really well-built kid, so now he's a prototypical stretch four."
Herb Ledee laughed as he considered his best-laid plans. At 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, Jaedon isn't exactly point guard material anymore. Still, while that plan may not have worked out, it seemed as though the universe had another one in store. After coming out of retirement as a head boys basketball coach to be an assistant for the girls' team at his son's school, Kinkaid, as luck would have it, his team traveled to the Bay Area for a tournament. Jaedon Ledee came along.
Herb Ledee actually has a photo of his son with current Bears forward Marcus Lee, who transferred back home from Kentucky a year ago, and will be eligible this coming season.
"A really good friend of ours, the lady that's the head [girls basketball] coach at our school, her brother is best friends with Marcus Lee's brother, and he introduced Jae to Marcus the year that Marcus graduated high school," Herb Ledee said. "When he got a chance to go up there during Christmas, he worked out with Marcus a couple times that week. Marcus's family and our family friends have known each other forever."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1775911-walker-gordon-buil...Beyond that, the sister of the women's head coach under whom Herb Ledee is an assistant, Stacey Marshall, is Courtney Johnson, who led the Cal women's team in assists in the 1999-2000 season, and the 2000-01 campaign. The two sisters grew up in Antioch, hence the connection to the Lee family.
"It's funny how all of this has worked out," Herb Ledee said. "Another connection: My wife is a system principal at The Woodlands High School, and Cal's star running back, Daniel Lasco, came from there a few years ago. We've known Danny since high school. The guy that Danny works with is Jae's strength and conditioning guy, Derrek Jonkins, and when Danny came out a few weeks back, he had nothing but great things to say about Cal."
"When he was up there, he thought it was a wonderful campus, my wife thought it was a wonderful campus," Herb Ledee said. "They got a chance to do some workouts up there, and meet some of the other people, so next will be me getting down there and getting a chance to see it, as a parent."
"Coach Walker and I have known each other since high school," said Herb Ledee, who, as a freshman in the greater Houston area, watched from afar Walker as he starred as a senior at Houston (Tex.) Milby. "He was a premier guard, and I was coming up, so of course, I knew him really well. After that, he came back as a college coach [at Texas Tech], and basketball guys, we always meet up with each other. When Jae was a little kid, he got a chance to see him a lot back then, and he's followed him through. He's done some summer ball stuff, recently, where he kept up with Jae a lot, so he's seen Jae quite a bit over the years."
With the web of connections to Cal, the Ledee family is looking very closely at the Bears as a destination for Jaedon.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1771727-ledee-shares-texas..."Great conference, California is California, and the fact that Jae goes to a really high-end academic school, Cal is a really high-end academic school, so the opportunity of getting big-time basketball, along with big-time academics ... Cal is your No. 1 public school in the country, so that's something that my wife really likes," Herb Ledee said. "[Walker has] known Jae for a long time, and of course, when he got the position over there, he went in and told coach [Jones] about Jae, but they already knew about him. Jae and his mom were up there at Christmastime for a tournament, and they did an unofficial at that time. [Walker] has known Jae forever, so when he got there, he called us and let us know that the offer was there, and actually introduced me to coach Jones, and I've been talking with him a little bit, lately -- pretty often, recently. They got a chance to see him this weekend, even more, and they really love what he does. They want to get him up, and, of course, like most kids, Jae loves California."
Walker recently told BearTerritory that he and the rest of the new staff want to create a brand for Cal: The Duke of the West -- high academics and high-caliber basketball, all in one place.
"He told me the same thing last night," Herb Ledee said on Thursday. "He said, 'Man, we love kids like Jae, who are high enough basketball players, but are great character kids and you know we don't have to babysit in the classroom.'"
Walker also knows that Jaedon Ledee is supposed to grow a couple more inches, too. Until the last year, his feet were two sizes bigger than his age. Now, he's 17, and he's wearing 17s.
"He's stronger, his feet are catching up, and he'll get a couple more inches, so the athleticism and coordination are just kicking in," Herb Ledee said.