Ed Cooley

Providence’s Ricky Ledo declares for NBA Draft

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Providence’s Ricardo Ledo is headed to the NBA Draft, forgoing all four years of eligibility he’d have with the Friars.

Ledo, a Providence native, announced he was headed to the draft through the school’s athletic website.

The 6-7, 195-pounder swingman was forced to sit out this season as a freshman due to issues with his eligibility, but would’ve had his full eligibility restored going forward. Instead, coach Ed Cooley’s biggest recruit in his tenure with the Friars leaves without playing a game.

“I want to thank Providence College for the opportunity to be a Friar,” Ledo said in a statement. “As much as I wanted to play for the Friars and help the team win a BIG EAST championship, I felt I could not pass up this opportunity to enter the NBA Draft now. I had a great experience this season and will always remember the great atmosphere for our games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. I appreciate all the support from the College, the fans, my teammates and the coaching staff, especially Coach Cooley. I love my teammates and I will always be a Friar.”

Ledo was ranked in the Top 25 overall in the Class of 2012, according to various scouting services. He was billed as a scorer, averaging over 20 points per game at South Kent (Conn.) Prep during the 2011-12 season. He was selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game after the season.

There had been questions about his ability to play within a team, but there were no reported issues with Ledo during his one year at Providence.

Various NBA Draft sites have him from a fringe first-rounder to undrafted, but you’d think with a player with his skill set, Ledo’s pre-draft workouts are going to set the tone for where he goes, since he hasn’t been in a competitive game for an entire season.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.