Monday, July 13, 2015

Ricky Ledo: X-Factor For The New York Knicks

Ricky Ledo hoping NBA is in his future

NEW YORK – With Madison Square Garden nearly empty after a recent game, Ricardo Carrasco hung around the arena speaking with his son, Ricky Ledo, a New York Knicks guard who only scored two points in 16 minutes in the team's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The next night, Ledo didn't play at all against the Orlando Magic.
Still, for Ledo, simply being in the NBA is an accomplishment. He's now determined to stick around and have a long career, which he understands is harder than he envisioned when he entered the 2013 NBA draft having played for four high schools and appeared in no college games.
The Knicks signed Ledo to the first of two consecutive, 10-day contracts on March 19, one month after the Dallas Mavericks released him. When Ledo scored in double figures four times in a five-game stretch, the Knicks agreed to terms to keep him for the rest of this season, which ends on Wednesday.
After that, his future remains murky. Ledo is hoping to repair what his father calls an unfair reputation as a talented but troubled player.
"The thing that gets me upset sometimes is he gets a bad rep," Carrasco told USA TODAY Sports. "He's not a bad kid. He's never been in trouble. He's never been arrested…He grew up in a loving environment. It gets me upset when people talk about a broken home."

Ledo, 22, was raised in a tough neighborhood and lived with his grandparents, Ada and Julio Carrasco, in Providence, Rhode Island. Julio worked for the local school department, while Ada worked for a financial services firm. They were strict with their grandson, who showed promise in multiple sports.
Ledo was known more as a football star when he enrolled at Bishop Hendricken, an all-boys Catholic high school in Rhode Island. But after he scored 31 points and led Hendricken to its sixth consecutive state championship as a sophomore in 2009, he began attracting more attention for his basketball skills. He never lacked for confidence.
"He's very competitive, almost to a cockiness," Carrasco said. "Since he was a little kid, he walked into the gym and thought he could beat Kobe Bryant. He really thought he could."
During the next three years, Ledo spent time at three New England prep schools and became a national recruit. He signed with Providence College and expected to team with McDonald's All-American point guard Kris Dunn. He also looked forward to playing for Friars coach and fellow Providence native Ed Cooley.
Ledo's dreams of excelling in front of his hometown fans were dashed when the NCAA declared him academically ineligible as a freshman. He attended classes and practiced, but he couldn't compete in games.
"That was the toughest year of my life," Ledo said.
Instead of playing for the Friars the next season, Ledo entered the NBA draft. The Bucks selected him in the second round and traded him to the Mavericks. His Dallas contract included more than $1.3 million in guaranteed money during the first two seasons.
Ricky Ledo | 6' 7" 201 lbs | SG/SF | New York Knicks

Last month, the New York Post reported Ledo had a dispute with his former agent,Seth Cohen, about money he owed Cohen. The newspaper said the NBA Players Association sided with Cohen and told Ledo to pay him.
In two seasons with Dallas, Ledo only appeared in 16 games for a total of 44 minutes. He spent most of his time with the team's NBA Development League affiliate in Frisco, Texas. This season, he averaged 15.1 points and 4.2 assists per game and shot 44.6 percent from the floor and 28.8 percent on three-pointers for Frisco before the Mavericks waived him on Feb. 18.
Ledo was in limbo for a month until the Knicks called.
"It's definitely been tough because you get out of a rhythm," Ledo said. "It's been difficult, but I'm fighting through it. I'm doing better each game."

With the Knicks, Ledo has shown hints of his potential, most notably when he scored a career-high 21 points with 9 rebounds against the Washington Wizards on April 3. He made 8 of 27 shots and scored 19 points in the Knicks final six games.

"He's one of the most talented basketball players I've seen in a while," said Bucks point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who played with Ledo for a year at St. Andrew's high school in Rhode Island. "I think it's been tough on him just because he hasn't got a chance in the NBA, really. He didn't get a chance to play in college. I think (the Knicks) see a little bit of his talent, but I think as time goes, you'll see a lot more."
Ledo and Carter-Williams plan on working out together this summer, just like they have for the past few years. But unlike Carter-Williams, Ledo's NBA future is uncertain. He needs to get in better shape, improve his defense and learn New York's triangle offense to remain with the organization.
The Knicks have an option to sign him for next season, but his reduced role in the past week means he could be looking to join another team soon. The uncertainty doesn't bother Ledo.
"It lights a flame under Rick," Carrasco said. "He know he's gotta compete. He's never been scared of competing. He'll be all right." — Tim Casey | USA Today

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