In a matter of hours, dozens of young men will see a childhood dream come true, as they’ll become professional athletes and members of the NBA. Whether they were Mcdonald’s or collegiate All-Americans, or foreigners who have been competing as boys, amongst men overseas; the slate will be wiped clean as they embark on a new journey. New Englanders, (Rhode Islanders in particular) will have a close eye on tonight’s draft, as multiple prospects who either hail from Lil’ Rhody, or played their high school ball here, are expected to hear their name called. You would be hard pressed to find a mock draft that does not include the names, Ricky Ledo, Erik Murphy, and Michael Carter-Williams, all of whom have come from, or through the Ocean State.
PG Michael Carter-Williams- Syracuse (So) While he resides in Hamilton, Mass, Carter Williams became an All American while playing at St. Andrew’s. He then went on to take the Big East by storm, as the catalyst of a very good Syracuse Orange team. Carter-Williams wowed everyone with his scoring and passing ability, all while making it look effortless. He came on very strongly in the latter part of his sophomore season, playing his best ball, and elevating his stock into the top 10. Carter-Williams is expected to go anywhere from #7 overall (Kings) to #13 overall (Mavs). He will be expected to be a franchise PG one day, and if he continues to learn and grow at this rate, it seems likely that he’ll live up to those lofty expectations.
SG Ricardo Ledo- Providence (Fr) Is there a more intriguing prospect in this 2013 draft then Ricky Ledo? The young man who chose to stay home for his college ball, never got to put on a Friars uniform after being ruled ineligible. Ledo never waivered in his journey, and continuously put on unreal shooting displays for NBA scouts in practice. After impressing many at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Ledo traveled the country working out for a large group of NBA teams, who were looking to get a first hand taste of what he is like, and what he’s capable of on the court. Ledo is regarded by many as the best pure scorer in this class, but with him sitting out a year, some NBA GM’s may be a bit weary to pull the trigger. He may hear his name called as early as the lottery, and as late as the beginning of the second round. Ledo has impressed in recent months, and I expect a team to choose him somewhere between the late teens, and the early twenties. Regardless, of where he lands, Ledo seems poised to silence the critics, and let his play answer any of the lingering questions anyone may have.
PF Erik Murphy- Florida (Sr) Not many 4* recruits had a college career quite like South Kingston’s own Erik Murphy. Not only did Murphy stay in school for four years, he went through his share of ups and downs in those four years. Murphy, who comes from an outstanding basketball family, continued to work on his game and became Florida’s most consistent player last season. He is your prototypical NBA stretch four, and is considered by many as the best big man shooter in this year’s draft class. Murphy is expected to go in the mid to late second round in tonight’s draft, and may end up being a steal because of the tremendous upside he possesses, with his shooting touch and basketball IQ.
All three of these young men have traveled vastly different paths to end up where they are today, and in the end their love for the game of basketball has trumped any, and every obstacle set before them. On this day, they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, with the reward of becoming professional basketball players. It’s not to often that this little state of ours produces professional athletes, and tonight we will likely see multiple Rhody natives become members of the NBA. This is a rare thing, and something we should all enjoy and appreciate, as we don’t know for certain when this will happen next. I wish these three young men the absolute best of luck, as they embark on this journey, and look forward to watching them go from the countries smallest state, to the world’s biggest stage.