Men’s basketball: Cedric Ridle thriving at Division-II Lincoln
By John Mutka Post-Tribune senior correspondent February 18, 2013 6:46PM
Updated: February 18, 2013 7:51PM
Sometimes the good ones slip through the cracks.
Cedric Ridle Jr. is a classic example of that. Coming out of Roosevelt High School five years ago, he was virtually ignored by college scouts.
“My only option was St. Joseph’s College for football,” he said.
Hoping to play both sports there, he eventually decided to transfer because he missed basketball and didn’t think he was getting a fair shake indoors.
“I was just on the practice team and never got to dress,” he complained.
Today, the 6-foot-2 senior guard leads the MIAA with a 19.9 average and was recently named one of the top 100 players — 82nd to be exact — not in Division I.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized nationally,” said Ridle, who stars for the Lincoln’s Blue Tigers. “I’m proud of that.”
So how did a kid from Gary wind up at a Division II school situated in Jefferson City Missouri?
Call it a happy accident. Coach John Redmond noticed him on a recruiting trip at a jamboree in Kankakee, Ill.
“I was looking at a couple of 6-7 kids and spotted this skinny kid — very athletic — and started asking around,” he said.
Liking the answers, Redmond quickly offered Ridle a partial scholarship. Six games into his first season, it morphed into a full ride.
What amazes the Lincoln coach is how Ridle transitioned from football.
“He wasn’t raw, just had been away from basketball for two years, but he adjusted quickly,” Redmond said.
Over the last three seasons Ridle has led the Blue Tigers in scoring, rebounding and steals. Last year he averaged 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds. This year he’s at 6.3 rebounds. Recently, he joined Lincoln’s elite and currently owns a career total of 1,084 points.
“He’s a great scorer who can shoot or drive,” said Redmond, who uses Ridle as an off-guard but believes he’s equally adept at the point. “He’s a blue-collar kid who gives you 110 percent every day, a hard worker who comes from a good family.”
Ridle also scores in the classroom. A journalism major who aspires to a career in broadcast radio or TV, he’s been on the Dean’s list ever since he arrived.
“I could go on and on,” Redmond said. “He’s the kind of role model you want, staying here all summer, working in the community. Gary should be proud of this kid. He’s a diamond in the rough.”
Redmond wonders what kind of career numbers Ridle would have put up if he’d had him all four years. He finds it hard to believe Ridle was not heavily recruited and describes him as a diamond in the rough.
“Whoever missed him in high school missed a good one. I’m just glad we didn’t. If I had 15 like him we’d be on top in the conference (MIAA consists of 15 schools).”
When pressed, Ridle admits he’d like to play at the next level, but isn’t receiving much exposure because Lincoln has already lost 21 games.
Redmond believes his star is capable of cracking the NBA as a point guard.
“Europe, definitely,” he said. “I guarantee that.”
Ridle considers versatility his strong point.
“Like you say,” he said, “my stats are well-rounded.”
Five years removed from playing for Larry McKissack at Roosevelt, he finds it hard to believe how much the school has deteriorated.
“I enjoyed playing for a program with so much history, so well respected,” he said.