At one time earlier this year, there was hope and expectation for 2012-13 to be a big season for Providence. But now the program has hit a significant snag in its return to Big East relevance. The school announced Wednesday that 6-foot-6 freshman Ricky Ledo, who was considered by many to be the best player coming into the league, has been ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA.
That means Ledo can practice with the team -- but he cannot play in games for the upcoming season. The decision comes after Ledo played for four high schools and switched schools five times in three years, thus drawing the attention and detailed examination from the NCAA over his academic eligibility.
"Today the NCAA informed us that the eligibility waiver for Ricky Ledo has been partially approved and Ricky will be allowed to practice with the team but he can't compete in games," Providence coach Ed Cooley said in a statement. "We are excited that Ricky has the opportunity to pursue his education and be part of the team. We believe that this gives us the chance to help him grow as an individual."
Ledo himself was quoted in the statement as, "I am happy to be a student at Providence College. It has always been a dream of mine to represent PC and I am looking forward to my days as a student-athlete.”
Pretty boilerplate, yeah, but that's where he and the school stand now. Behind the scenes, I'm sure everyone's pretty disappointed. This ruling, in addition to the shoulder injury to incoming elite freshman point guard Kris Dunn, means the Friars will again not be considered among the league's best. Dunn will miss at least the first month of the season. Objectively, the Friars are now nowhere near as good/talented as they could have been to start the season.
And now things get intriguing beyond Ledo's eligibility. Soon we'll know his loyalty. Ledo has interest from European teams and is considered a future NBA player by others. The NBA's D-League also is an option. There's speculation whether he'll truly be willing to sit from competition for a year while suitors willing to pay him money to play in Europe are ready right now. Ledo started classes this week at Providence.