Junior college transfer Seth LeDay isn’t just senior forward Zach LeDay’s brother.
He’s a player who earned his scholarship through standout play at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
“We’ve had guys that have played at big-time levels and they haven’t had the stats that he’s had,” Coach Bubba Skelton said. “I just think that his upside is tremendous and again, when you watch him on tape, you’ll see some quick, athletic moves that he makes that guys his size, there’s not a lot of guys his size that can do that.
“I think if he gets to where he can consistently shoot the ball from the perimeter,” Skelton continued, “and he gets to where he can get his body stronger, because you know that’s an adjustment at the ACC level, I think he’ll be a really, really good contributor for them.”
The younger LeDay had some big games early for the Rangers. At first glance, though, it may look like he lost some effectiveness down the stretch, but that doesn’t take into account teams’ defensive strategy for LeDay.
“He had some big game for us down the stretch,” Skelton said. “He’s getting double-teamed a lot in our league. As the season moves along and the scouting report comes about, now he’s starting to get doubled by teams in our league, which he’s not going to get at that level, when he moves up to the ACC.
“He’s going to have really quality players around him at every position that can all hurt you offensively, so I think that you’ll see that he can do fine,” Skelton said. “He did well for us throughout the year, to be honest. He put up big numbers for our team overall on the season. I had a lot of division one players come out of our program, and he had as good of stats as anybody. I’ve had guys go to Clemson, and I’ve had guys go to Memphis – it’s been a while back since we’ve had guys at that level – but we’ve had guys at Ole Miss.”
LeDay’s effectiveness goes beyond the offensive side of the ball. He is a multi-talented player, with some of his biggest contributions coming at the other end of the floor.
“He can guard multiple positions,” Skelton said. “So, he’s long and rangy and he’s got quick feet for his size. So, he can guard two through four. That’s very valuable, too, with all the switching that takes place and defensively what a lot of teams do. He can get caught on a little bigger guy and be fine, he can get caught on smaller guard and be fine. I do think that it will be something that’s a positive for him.”
At 6’7” and 200 pounds, LeDay has versatility for which position he can play on the court.
“I think he can play either forward spot,” Skelton said. “So, he can play the small forward or he can play the four, if he needs to. So, I really think that the small forward would be the best to suit him at that level, at the ACC right now, but with strength, I think he could play either one of those two spots. Seth is a really good offensive rebounder. He’s got great instincts, he’s quick to the ball, he’s got a great second jump that coaches can’t teach.”
Among those intangible instincts is that of mental toughness.
“We had a loss in the state tournament where we struggled as a team,” Skelton said. “In that game, he just kept coming – it was against Southwest in our state tournament. He kind of put us on his back and kept coming, even though we were down and things weren’t looking good. I thought that mentally, it was a big hurdle for him and the fact that things weren’t going good, he just said, ‘to heck with it. I’m going to do what I have to do to get us back in the game,’ even though we came up short in the game.
“Just to have that mentality that he was going to keep attacking him,” Skelton said. “It was one of those games where we weren’t making any shots from the outside, our whole team. He just kept attacking and going to the glass and getting on the free throw line to keep us in the game and give us a chance.”
That mental toughness, along with his versatility, will serve the younger LeDay well at Virginia Tech, which faces some of the toughest competition in the country as a member of the ACC.