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Next Beasts of Big East: Providence Shakes Things Up with an Incredible Duo

The Big East recruiting picture continues to sharpen, with multiple stars committing to the conference powers, but it’s an unlikely program grabbing major eyebrow-raising headlines. Providence HC Ed Cooley is shaking up the league’s power structure by snagging two of the most coveted guards in the 2012 class in Connecticut native Kris Dunn and ESPNU #22 and 4-star SG Ricardo Ledo. The Friars don’t have a recent history of landing top players, but suddenly the first year coach seems to be pulling up big fish from the high school basketball ocean. Here’s a look at the stars settling into Provvy City:

Ricardo Ledo/SG/South Kent School (Providence, RI)
Signed: Providence Friars
Height: 6′ 6″ Weight: 180

Ledo is a deadly shot from any area of the court, and he’s methodical about where he places himself, taking his time to shed his man and find space to unleash his jump shot. He’ll be playing in his hometown under Ed Cooley, a guy he has a tremendous amount of respect for. In time Ledo will be the face of the Friars, and a formidable opponent for those taking on Providence. ESPN’s scouts on Ricardo Ledo:
“…a pure scorer who is capable of getting buckets from any spots on the floor. He has  great size for his position with a long build, explosive athleticism, and the full range of  offensive skills. He is quick off the bounce with a tight handle and corresponding range to  the arc off the rhythm dribble.”
Ledo had originally given Cooley the verbal nod, but then balked after receiving offers from UConn, Georgetown, and Marquette. Cooley has been beaming since landing Ledo, the biggest piece of a strong 11th-ranked class:
“Ricky Ledo is a truly gifted scorer. He can score from all over the court. Many scouts  consider him to be the best natural scorer in the country. Like Kris Dunn, he will help put our  team in a position to gain respect on a national level. Ricky will be a key member of our team next season.”
Cooley also brought in Dunn, a PG who some say paved the way for Ledo to recommit. Dunn is a highly-coveted commit as well, and a 1-2 backcourt with Ledo starting next season is scary for the Friars:
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Kris Dunn/PG/New London HS (New London, CT)
Signed: Providence Friars
Height: 6′ 3″ Weight: 180

Dunn finds himself at #29 of the ESPNU 100, just 7 spots back from his future teammate Ledo. He’s a versatile tool for Cooley since he can play either guard position. He’s explosive to the rim and willing to pass when appropriate. To that end, scouts believe he can be a little too aggressive:
“He is an aggressive playmaker by nature and so more naturally suited to play off the ball  and makes alot of risky passes (high risk/high reward). He would do well to add a change of  pace/hesitation dribble. Also, he’ll be a high turnover guy if he doesn’t clean up his decision  making.”
Bottom line: Providence sets itself up to be an extremely tough opponent for as long as Ledo and Dunn are there. For a first year coach, Cooley’s already built an impressive resume by landing these two players. Teams that don’t acknowledge Providence’s ability to bring the heat will find themselves the victim of a trap game.
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Other important bits to note, two of last week’s featured Beasts Ryan Arcidiacono and Omar Calhoun have signed National Letters of Intent to Villanova and UConn, respectively. Also, Chane “The Chane Train” Behenan played in his first exhibition game for Louisville (read more on him here). Behenan matched Jared Swopshire with 13 points, and proved to the Cardinals faithful that he’s a freshman for real. After Syracuse’s slaughtering of Fordham at the Dome on Saturday, hoops season is officially underway. Keep to The Fizz for the latest on new faces across the Big East.
    Posted: Jake Moskowitz
    Photo Cred: NationofBlue.com
    The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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