Ricky Ledo has spent less than 24 hours in Puerto Rico but he already feels like he did as a young kid when he used to come here during the summer. "I used to come to Puerto Rico like every summer. So being here kind of reminds me of that time. I used to come here every year until I was 13 years old. Then I started playing AAU basketball so I didn't have time to come. I'm excited to be back, I'm loving it!" Ledo said.
Ledo and his mentor/AAU Coach Todd Quarles arrived yesterday and after checking into the hotel, getting a quick bite to eat, the two of them arrived to National Team practice with Federation Executive, Jaime Lamboy. Lamboy is leading the Federations effort to get Ledo to play for Puerto Rico. Once Ledo arrived at practice, he put on some practice gear and after meeting with coaches and other staff, he played a couple of games of three on three and then got some shots up. Ledo's aunt and uncle who are here on vacation were also able to attend practice.
Ledo said,"I had great time at practice. The ball is kind of different. I had trouble getting a feel for the ball. I'm ready to come out tomorrow and do my best. The guys on the team are really good guys and I want to show that I can play at this level."
Ledo's issue with the ball reminded PR Playmakers Founder, Todd Washington of the situation with Mike Rosario, when he came to Puerto Rico in 2009. "When I brought Mike down to play for the 19U Team in 2009, he didn't make a shot for the first three days. Some of the coaching staff and his teammates starting whispering that maybe he wasn't as good as advertised. He probably shot 10 airballs in those first couple of days. After the third day of practice, we got him a ball and told him to keep it with him everywhere he went. He slept with ball like he was a little kid and by the end of the week he was killing everybody. So I told Ricky at dinner tonight that we are going to get him a ball so he can get accustomed to the weight and feel."
Rosario went on later that summmer to lead the world in scoring as Puerto Rico finished 6th the 2009 FIBA World Championship. Washington told IPRB that he is getting Rosario and Ledo on the phone, so that Rosario can share his experience in Puerto Rico with Ledo and help him in his decision.
Washington thinks there is a real chance at him playing for Puerto Rico provided he can make the team. "When Todd Quarles and I began discussing the idea of Ricky playing for Puerto Rico, I made it clear that this is no cake walk. There are a lot of really good players trying out. I told Ricky to enjoy the trip, spend time reconnecting with his family here on the island and give it his best. That is all you can ask a young man his age to do. Give it his best. I think there is a relly good chance that he will decide to play for Puerto Rico. We are doing everything we can to help him make the right decision for he and his family."
Ledo went to The Palm in the El San Juan Hotel for dessert. He ordered a big piece of chocalate cake, ice cream and a glass of milk. As he looked at all of the pictures of famous people on the walls you could sense that Ledo felt his picture would also be up there sometime in the near future.