Providence, R.I., native and 2012 shooting guard recruit Ricardo Ledo is one of the best 25 players in his class. In some ways, he's also the latest poster boy for the risk-reward calculus college coaches must perform anytime they pursue a highly talented player. Ledo had a rough childhood in Providence. He has seen family members shot, killed, or sent to jail. He is now enrolled at his fourth high school in five years.
Ledo Earlier this offseason, Luke Winn studied transfer data and noticed a large correlation between high school players who change schools often and the number of decommitments or transfers by those players later in their careers. Knowing that, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Ledo -- who was supposed to announce his college decision at a Thursday news conference, with Providence the perceived favorite for his services -- cancelled the announcement instead.
The tone of the cancellation wasn't dramatic. Instead, Ledo texted Providence Journal writer Kevin McNamara: "It is cancelled. Please spread that around." The only reason given for the sudden turn -- according to Ledo's high school coach, Ryan Hurd, who spoke with McNamara -- was as follows:
The only person expressing reasons for the move on Tuesday was Ryan Hurd, Ledo's coach at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. Ledo had apparently settled on giving new PC coach Ed Cooley a verbal commitment after narrowing his school choices to the Friars, Syracuse, West Virginia, Kentucky and Connecticut. However, some advisors in his camp weren't ready to sign off on that decision.
"The worst thing is for him to rush into any decision," said Hurd. "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."
It's hard to argue with that logic. A prospect is almost always better off taking his time and weighing his options completely. If you commit, it's very difficult to change your mind. It's especially difficult when that commitment would make you an immediate hometown savior, the reason Providence basketball is headed for a glorious revival. You can imagine how distracting that could be.
At the same time, you can forgive Friars fans if they're just a little bit freaked out. New Providence coach Ed Cooley has already made major strides in recruiting -- just last week he landed the No. 2 point guard in the class of 2012, Connecticut native Kris Dunn. But he is still fighting a huge uphill battle for any elite player's services. The other teams on Ledo's list are annual contenders. Providence is a rebuilding project. Perhaps especially threatening is Kentucky, where John Calipari has landed pretty much every recruit he's wanted in the past two classes, and who just so happens to be a little short on 2012 recruits these days. Could Ledo -- gasp! -- be the next Terrence Jones?
So, yes, Ledo's news conference postponement is probably a little frightening for Providence. It doesn't mean he's definitely leaving. But it also doesn't mean he's definitely staying. Until he signs on the line which is dotted -- ending a mercurial and transient high school career in the process -- Providence fans will just have to sweat this one out.