Jaedon LeDee has been a standout from the start of his basketball career, averaging almost 50 points a game in middle school and playing on a 17U summer team at the age of 14.
It comes as no surprise college coaches noticed him early.
After his freshman season at the Kinkaid School in Houston, LeDee held 11 college offers, including powerhouses Kentucky, Kansas, and Indiana.
The 6’7 (and growing) guard originally played football, but after his dad’s suggestion he added basketball to the mix in fourth grade. He immediately fell in love with the game.
“I knew in about 7th grade that I really wanted to focus on basketball, and that I wanted to do it for my life,” LeDee said.
Early on, his size advantage over classmates was a big factor, but his ability to score is what has him unanimously ranked No. 1 in the state for the class of 2018. The versatile athlete uses his length and solid ball handling skills to create shooting space for himself and get to the rim. LeDee has a sweet mid-range jumper but also works well off-ball, finding the open man and rebounding inside.
He also has showed adaptability over the last few seasons, switching between multiple positions on the court.
“When I’m out there, I’m just a basketball player,” he said. “When they move me around I take it as a compliment, but if I had to choose one, I think I enjoy shooting guard the most.”
As a freshman at the Kindkaid School, LeDee excelled in that position and as a leader, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds on the season. That also included an impressive showing against St. John’s where he scored 36 of his team’s 70 points. Shortly after the season ended, offers rolled in for LeDee, and in early May he was given the golden ticket from Coach Calipari at
“I was shocked, Kentucky was one of the schools I’ve always watched growing up,” he said. “When I got the offer I was happy and I felt blessed, but then I also knew I had put in all the hours.”
Soon after that Tennessee, Wake Forest, Indiana, UCLA, Vanderbilt and more also followed with offers for the talented sophomore. Although LeDee says he has already heard from most of the schools on his list, he is still hoping to land Duke and Arizona. With three years of high school left he will almost certainly grab both, but he said there are no front runners in his recruiting race at this time.
However, he said he does know a few factors will be important when he gets to that decision.
“They have to have my major,” LeDee said. “And basketball-wise, I’m looking at the playing style, have they won a national championship, and who’s going to be there while I’m there.”
He said he hopes to pursue petroleum engineering when he gets to college, and feels academics are just as important as his basketball career.
Along with his stellar high school performance, the 195-pound phenom had a consistent showing this summer for his 17U Basketball University team on the Adidas Circuit. He averaged 14 points and seven rebounds during their season and was invited to Adidas All-American camp as well as Adidas Global Nations, where he was one of the youngest attendees.
He said consistently playing among older athletes has been one of the keys to his success.
“When you play with and against better people, you have no choice but to get better. I love the level of competition and every time I play with them I learn new stuff,” LeDee said. “With the older guys you can’t relax, the minute you do, that’s when they take you. So I learned you have to always be focused and always be in the game.”
With all the camps and tournaments this summer, LeDee only had the chance to make one campus visit this year. In June he stopped by Austin to see Texas and meet with Coach Smart.
“It was good,” he said. “It was my first time meeting him face-to-face, and Coach Shaka is just a really nice guy.”
With such a large list of suitors, more visits will certainly be in LeDee’s future, but for his upcoming sophomore season he said his biggest goal is just to win. Despite his dominance for Kinkaid, the team struggled last year, ending with an overall record of 8-23. LeDee said he wants that to change and hopes he can develop more skills in the process.
“I want to get more athletic, more explosive and I want to become an elite defender,” he said. “But for the season the goal is to win an SPC (Southwest Preparatory Conference) State Championship. All I can really think about right now is winning.”