Welcome Back Ricky Ledo

Providence College coach Ed Cooley received a pleasant holiday surprise when Rhode Island's own Ricardo Ledo committed to the Friars on Labor Day. Ledo, a 6'7 small forward/shooting guard, is the latest in a blockbuster recruiting class.

Something about a holiday brings out the Friar in Ricky Ledo. He originally committed to Providence on December 24, 2010 – Christmas Eve – but decommitted from the Friars at the end of January. Now, on Labor Day, the Providence native recommitted to the Friars.

"I'm going to Providence. I want to stay home," Ledo said to the Providence Journal. He told ESPN.com, ""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 had appeared to have been ready to commit to PC last Thursday, and had announced a public decision at a local restaurant in Providence near the PC campus, but hastily called off the announcement. Curious statements by his prep coach, Notre Dame Prep's Ryan Hurd, caused many Friar fans to question why the talented Ledo had backed off an apparent decision for the Friars.

Hurd stated to the Providence Journal, ""The worst thing is for (Ledo) to rush into any decision. It's important for Ricky to get back to 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 need to focus on their academics usually benefit from making a college decision and 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.

Now, Ledo is considering not enrolling in Notre Dame Prep at all for this school year, preferring to work to qualify and enroll at Providence College for the second semester. Ledo would not be eligible to play until September of 2012, but would get a leg up academically by enrolling early. How Ledo would become eligible academically is unclear if he chooses not to return to Notre Dame Prep. ""I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet (this year) but we'll talk to my family and see what we can do," Ledo told ESPN.com.

As it is, he may present an interesting case for the NCAA Clearinghouse. Friar fans are familiar with Ledo's history; how he started out at Hendricken and playing alongside star Billy Baron, helped lead the Hawks to the state championship as a sophomore, in 2009, scoring 31 points in the title game. He then moved to St. Andrew's to repeat his sophomore year, and the Saints never seemed to mesh with Ledo. St. Andrew's coach said, "The basketball is not the issue. It's the other stuff. He comes from a tough, tough background, but the problem is the neighborhood. He's already a Division I player. We're trying to make him a Division I person." When Ledo left the school, neither side was unhappy with the decision.

Ledo surfaced at South Kent in Connecticut and continued to play well, but decided to transfer to Notre Dame Prep, where he finished out the season and had been prepared to reenroll for his last year this September. That's four schools in five years, always a red flag for the Clearinghouse.

Assuming that Ledo can, and will, qualify, the Friars have landed a whale of a basketball player, talent-wise, but not one without question marks in that area, as well. Despite an impressive summer, Ledo's rating actually dropped in many of the recruiting services estimations. Why? Questions about his commitment to defense, and a glance at his summer teams' 1-10 record, all contributed to the slide. However, Rivals.com was one service that did not drop him, placing him as the #8 prospect in the 2012 class in it's Top 100 recent release.

As Ledo impressed over the summer, a number of top schools followed him. Louisville, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Connecticut and Kentucky all were reportedly eying Ledo and rumors constantly were surfacing of this person or that person pushing him here or there. But in the end, Ledo's heart was always in Providence.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com was one who was impressed by Ledo. After an opening round performance for the Albany City Rocks at EYBL in Dallas, Daniels wrote: "Arguably the nation's top scorer, Ledo went to work in the opening round game against Meanstreets. His jump shot is effortless and when his feet are set you can count it up as points. He's far from just an impressive shooter though, as Ledo can go off the bounce and score it from all three levels. He's an underrated passer as well."

In the EYBL tournament in California, Daniels wrote: "Ledo is one athletic cat who can flat out score the basketball. He was hitting from three, made a few nice mid-range moves, and also finished above the rim. His ability to finish from all three levels on the floor is what separates him from other guards in the class. Add in a great frame, and there is no question that he will be one of the toughest players to defend in the class going forward."

Ledo has repeatedly been called the best scorer in the 2012 class, a long, wiry athlete who can pour in points in bunches, using a sweet three point shooting stroke, or an explosive burst and finish at the rim. He sees the court well and can be an exceptional passer. Like most players his age, he needs to get stronger, but that hasn't hurt him to this point.

Ledo is ranked #8 overall by Rivals.com, #22 by ESPN.com and #25 by Scout.com. By position, he is the top rated shooting guard by Rivals.com and the #6 shooting guard by both Scout.com and ESPN.com.

Ricky joins Kris Dunn and Josh Fortune in a class that Evan Daniels now has rated #3 in the nation. Dunn is rated #11 by Rivals.com, and along with Ledo, the two form the highest rated duo in a single recruiting class for Providence since 1974, when Bruce "Soup" Campbell came in rated #2 and Bob Misevicius #7 by Street & Smith. It's unclear whether recruiting is done for 2012. As of now, there are no more scholarships available, but there's little doubt that Cooley and staff would love to add a quality big to this haul.

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