CT Ballers Kris Dunn & Ricardo Ledo Receiving National Exposure

Kris Dunn, New London High School, and Ricardo Ledo, South Kent Prep, are both Providence College commits and have earned some of the highest individual honors a high school basketball player can achieve. In the last few months the elite high school players have participated in the two most prestigious high school basketball games, the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic.

These games are showcases for the upper-echelon of high school basketball talent on the national level. Both are broadcasted on national television and the McDonald’s game is like an all-star weekend with festivities including a slam dunk contest and three-point shootout to round it out the competitions.

Dunn is rated as the nation’s number two point guard in the 2012 class by ESPN and number one by Rivals. As a junior, Dunn averaged 25.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4.5 steals per contest. Dunn will be bringing his athleticism and explosiveness to Providence next year.

“Providence is a special place for me,” Dunn said in an interview with ESPN. “I have a great connection with the coaches but most importantly with (Cooley). He made my family and I feel at home and we were wanted.”

Ledo is ranked sixth in the Rivals top 150 and ranked 21st by ESPN. The 6-foot-6 guard is regarded as a prolific scorer, will also become a Friar next season.

“I grew up in Providence and it feels like a perfect fit,” Ledo told ESPN. “I trust coach Cooley. He’s one of the reasons Providence can get back on top.”

Providence College has landed the two top Connecticut recruits and two of the top 25 recruits in the nation. This could be because of a number of things but a person can speculate that UConn’s sanctions and punishments took them out of the race and stopped them from staying home.

The Prevalence of Violations

Not only is recruiting a crucial component of college coaching, but it is also a very dangerous and slippery slope. Coaches have to follow strict guidelines put forth by the NCAA. The problem is that coaches are also under enormous amounts of pressure to win games and build a program. They need to win games to keep their jobs and most programs put coaches on a very short leash. Usually, college coaches are given just a few years to prove themselves. It all depends on the school’s stage, bright lights, and prestigious history.

In recent years, some head coaches have showed blatant disregard for the NCAA’s rules. Coaches around the nation have been caught and punished for a variety of violations. These violations range from providing players with improper benefits to smaller things like contacting a player during a certain period. In 2010, Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl was suspended for the first eight SEC games because he lied to the NCAA about hosting a recruit in his home for a barbeque.

Just this past season, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun was forced to serve a three-game ban for violations that have taken place under his watch. After extensive investigations, the NCAA found that a former manager for the basketball team, considered a school representative, had illegal contact with a recruit for an extended period of time. It also came about that the UConn coaching staff had provided impermissible tickets to certain coaches and teachers directly involved with student-athletes. In the end, UConn lost scholarships for three years and faced other recruiting restrictions. Calhoun was not happy that he was suspended for three games but ultimately UConn was relieved that they didn’t receive a ban from postseason activity.

The worst punishment a school can receive is something called the “Death Penalty.” This means that a school, no matter what Division they are a part of, cannot compete in a certain sport for an entire year. It has only been implemented five times, including twice for basketball programs. If this trend of recruiting violations continues to increase, punishments may start to be become more severe.