- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Providence Friars freshman Ricky Ledo was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA, allowing him to practice but not play this season, the school announced Wednesday.
The 6-foot-6 Ledo, who is from Providence and last went to South Kent (Conn.) School, would be eligible for the 2013-14 season as a redshirt freshman if he meets academic requirements. He would have four years of eligibility remaining.
The news was well received by coach Ed Cooley, who had been worried the highly touted Ledo would be ruled ineligible to even practice due to an academic past that included attending four different high schools in five years.
Cooley feared that if Ledo wasn't granted partial eligibility to practice he wouldn't come to school. Ledo then could have sat out the year and declared for the NBA draft in the spring. He still could do that, but the odds now are more likely he'll play at least one season for the Friars.
Cooley said earlier in the week that he knew if Ledo didn't attend school, it would be a red flag with the NCAA. Ledo was a heralded recruit for the second-year coach, even though it was a long shot he'd be eligible this season.
Ledo received offers from Connecticut and Syracuse and was once pursued by Kentucky and West Virginia.
"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," 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."
Added Ledo: "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."
The Friars won't have their second-highest-rated recruit, point guard Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.), for at least the nonconference portion of their schedule. Dunn is recovering from a torn labrum, and Cooley hopes Dunn will be healthy for the start of the Big East season in January.
The combination of Ledo and Dunn gave the Friars the No. 6 recruiting class in 2012 by ESPN.com (6-5 Josh Fortune and 6-2 Ian Baker were the other two recruits).
The Friars also added Arizona Wildcats transfer Sidiki Johnson.
The Friars do return Vincent Council (15.9 points per game, 7.5 assists per game), who Cooley said is the best guard in the Big East.
Providence finished 4-14 in the Big East, 15-17 overall in Cooley's first season coaching in his hometown.