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Friday, September 7, 2012

Scouting Report: Ricky Ledo

Height: 6'6''
Wingspan: 6'7''
Weight: 193lb
Bday: 9/10/1992
NBA Comparison: Rudy Fernandez

Team: Providence
Class of 2017 (This season will be a redshirt year)

With news that Ricky Ledo will be ineligible to play basketball for Providence this season, I decided it was time to look at Ledo's NBA prospects as he could end up declaring after the end of this season without any college game experience. His ban from playing this year wasn't much of a surprise and it seemed as though Coach Ed Cooley was just happy to hear he would be eligible to practice all year with the team. The ability to practice has convinced Ledo to stay at school for the time being, although with Ledo, you never know where he will end up. Ledo went to 4 different high schools in 5 years, raising red flags along the way. He could explore options in both the D-League and overseas if he is serious about entering the upcoming draft.

As a college basketball fan, it is a disappointment that Ledo won't be playing this season. Ledo is an exciting scoring guard who can put up points with ease. At 6'7'', Ledo has great size for the position and the offensive repertoire one romanticizes about upon hearing of a top notch shooting guard prospect. Ledo is a great shooter, showing deep range on his jumpers and plenty of range. He can get his shots off at anytime, thanks to a combination of his shooter's lean, craftiness, and fluidity with the ball.

Ledo also moves well without the basketball and his team made it a point to feature him on a lot of curls off the ball. He worked hard to get open and proved he can play without the ball. Some think Ledo is more of a combo guard or even a point guard down the line, but I see him strictly as a 2 guard who can handle it. His movement off the ball is a big reason why.

With the ball, Ledo is extremely creative. He doesn't possess a lethal first step but his craftiness is more than enough for him to drive by defenders with ease. He has a slew of advanced ball handling moves and changes directions and speeds well. He is a very smooth looking scorer and has incorporated the Euro-step into his game. Ledo also likes to use a spin move at the time of the catch to make up for his lack of super explosive first step and he also uses one closer to the hoop - sometimes adding one step too many.

Ledo wasn't asked to play point guard as much last season as in previous years, but he is capable of bringing the ball up. Still to me, he seemed like he could get rattled by the press and make some terrible passes and have trouble slowing up at the top of the key and initiating the halfcourt offense. Ledo appears much more comfortable when he can catch the ball in the halfcourt and have a chance to size up the defense before making a move. When he brings the ball up the court, Ledo doesn't have a chance to do that.

Settled into the halfcourt offense, Ledo is very much a triple threat. Although he can make some terrible passes, Ledo also flashes impressive vision on drives and sets up his teammates for easy buckets. He is fairly unselfish, despite having the skillset of a one on one player. At times, Ledo will overextend himself with too many dribbles and make plays harder than they should be. There is a concern with his efficiency at higher levels. It would have been nice to see how he would have shot in a college season. If I had to guess, I would imagine around a 42% field goal shooting to go along with 38% from 3 and 80% at the line would be realistic.

The thing about his efficiency is the kind of shots he takes. He is a high volume shooter who can get up shots from anywhere. When he you can shoot from anywhere, you tend to end up taking some bad shots. Ledo needs to be careful and make sure he doesn't end up taking a lot of low percentage long 2-pt shots. He also needs to finish better at the rim. As I said, Ledo does a great job penetrating the lane, but blows too many lay-ups. Lack of concentration could be one of the culprits, as he is creative around the rim and gets a lot of hangtime. Ledo isn't a top level explosive athlete around the rim, but he can be on the receiving end of impressive dunks. He also can finish with both hands. His struggle to finish may also have to involve him trying to be too "cute" at the rim instead of going for the easy finish.

Where Ledo has to make the most improvements is his defense. In some of the games I saw Ledo, he made zero effort in that end of the floor. Ledo would gamble for steals and never venture inside of the 3-pt arc, choosing to cherry pick for easy buckets instead. Ledo has been cited on multiple occasions for bad body language and his lack of effort on defense doesn't help. To his defense, Ledo's prep school team was on the right end of a lot of blowouts and defense wasn't always necessary. In closer games, Ledo would focus more on defense, but his lack of experience playing real defense shows. He can't stay in front of his defenders and has to rely on his ability to play passing lanes. Ledo also rarely plays a role on the glass, staying out of the lane for the most part. For Ledo to get minutes in the NBA, this will have to change.

Moving forward, Ledo still has a lot of questions to his game and without a season to answer them, he may end up actually playing a season for Providence. The offensive upside Ledo offers however, dwarfs many of the current shooting guards projected to be drafted. He will get drafted alone just based on his offense even if he can't defend, has character red flags, and hasn't played above prep school. If he does answer some of those question though, then Ledo is a first round pick with potential to go in the lottery. Shooting guards with complete offensive games are a rare breed nowadays. 

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