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Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future

ECU & C-USA Hoops Recruiting Report
Sunday, December 7, 2003

By Thad Mumau
Special Correspondent

ECU still cultivating Alleghany connection


East Carolina secured the signature of Mike Castro on a letter of intent in November, and now the Pirates would like to add one of his teammates to their spring recruiting haul.

Sterling Ledbetter is a sophomore point guard at Allegany Junior College in Cumberland, MD. At 6-4 and 195 pounds, his height and strength give him an advantage over many other players at the position. He can see over defenses and is strong enough that he doesn’t get bumped off the ball.

"He’s really a fine all-around player," Allegany coach Robert Kirk said. "Sterling can score, get the ball to teammates for good shots and run the offense, plus he is an outstanding defender. We almost always put him on the opponent’s top offensive player unless it’s a big man. He can guard anybody up to 6-6.

"He is a big, strong point guard. He handles the ball very well, and this year he is running the team a lot better. He has matured a lot."

Ledbetter started every game last season as the Trojans finished 27-3 and ranked No. 8 in the final National Junior College poll. He averaged 8.8 points, 8.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds on a balanced team that saw eight players get at least 7.5 points per game. He also had 55 steals and 18 blocked shots.

He’s scoring more this season, an average of about 15 points to go with 7.5 assists and six rebounds per game in Allegany’s 7-1 start, but he's hitting just 32 percent of his three-point attempts.

"That will improve," Kirk said. "Sterling needs work on his three-point shot, and he has worked hard on it. It’s something he has spent a lot of time on. He knows you can’t be very successful as a point guard in Division I college basketball if people are backing off and giving you the jump shot. That makes the rest of your game less effective.

"He always looks to pass first, and that’s the way it should be with a point guard. At the same time, though, the point guard has got to shoot well enough to keep defenses honest. Otherwise, they sag back and clog up the passing lanes.

"He can get into the lane," Kirk said. "He’s a very good penetrator and can beat you off the dribble. He is very good in transition and in half-court."

Ledbetter made 48.2 percent of his shots from the floor last season, but that included only 31.7 percent (13 of 41) accuracy behind the arc. He sank 74.7 percent of his free throws.

He scored a season-high 21 points against Howard Community College and turned in his best all-around performance in the Maryland Juco Tournament when he had 19 points, 16 assists and seven rebounds in a win over Hagerstown CC.

"East Carolina would love to get Sterling," Kirk said, "and so would a lot of other schools."

Ledbetter’s favorite schools appear to be East Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Clemson and Maryland, with no visits taken recently.

One might think Castro’s decision to join ECU could have a strong influence on Ledbetter since the two of them are teammates at Allegany Junior College, but apparently that will not be a factor on the point guard’s decision.

"No, I don’t think so," Kirk said. "Mike really liked East Carolina when he visited there, and Sterling heard all about it. But that won’t play a part in what he does."

Ledbetter has not taken any official campus visits.

A graduate of Laurel (MD) High School, he averaged 10 assists as a junior and 15.3 points and eight assists his senior season.

In other recruiting news involving a Conference USA team, junior big man Clarence Holloway has committed to Louisville. He also had scholarship offers from Marquette, Purdue, Florida and Illinois.

The 7-0, 275-pound center averaged 12.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots as a sophomore at Chicago (IL) Fenger Academy. He is ranked No. 26 in the 2005 class by

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02/23/2007 02:40:12 PM

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