Ricky Lindo Jr. was supposed to be playing at Northfield Mount Hermon, a prep school in Massachusetts, this season. Instead, Lindo finds himself as a key rotation player for the 13th-ranked Maryland Terrapins, playing in the Big Ten, arguably the best conference in the country.
On Monday, Lindo’s Terps fell to sixth-ranked Michigan State in East Lansing. As in most recent games, Ricky Lindo was one of the first players off the bench, checking in at the 13:28 mark in the first half alongside two other Terps. To be a big part of Maryland’s rotation so soon seemed unlikely a few months ago. Lindo was Maryland’s last addition; he signed in August only a few weeks after receiving an offer.
As the season wore on, Lindo began to see more minutes during Maryland’s out-of-conference contests. Lindo did not play much during Maryland’s first two Big Ten games, logging four minutes against Penn State and two minutes at Purdue. Then, after posting a stellar eight points and ten rebounds in 22 minutes against Radford, Lindo played 16 minutes against #24 Nebraska in a 74-72 win. Lindo had become a significant part of the rotation.
The former Tiger star’s role extends past scoring. Listed at 6’8”, Lindo uses his versatility to guard all five positions comfortably. Lindo fights hard on both the offensive and defensive boards. He led Maryland in rebounding in a 64-60 win against Wisconsin, posting nine boards. Following the game, Coach Mark Turgeon praised Lindo’s play. “I tell you what we’re really relying on Ricky a lot. I have never seen a kid grow as much as he’s grown defensively and rebounding. When we signed him we thought he was going to redshirt. So it is pretty cool what he’s doing. He’s really helping us, he’s growing, and our guys have a lot of confidence in him,” Turgeon said in his post-game press conference.
Lindo also performed well in Maryland’s win 82-67 at Minnesota. Lindo had six points, six rebounds, and two blocks in only 14 minutes, with most of that coming in the second half. Lindo hit a big three in the second half and Maryland never looked back. Ricky always looks to make the right pass, never really taking bad shots. His defensive effort may not always show up on the box score, but it is always there.
Lindo’s early contribution does not surprise his former coach Angelo Hernandez, who worked with Lindo since he stepped foot at Wilson. “I mean that’s kinda how we prepared him. All the workouts—the long late night workouts, the early morning workouts, after practice workouts,” Hernandez said. Hernandez knows that Lindo’s development was not always straightforward. “It was frustrating at some points where he did not think it was going to happen. But, I’m excited for him and happy for him. I knew the sky was the limit. Now he’s in the rotation, and it looks like he’s doing really well,” Hernandez added.
Lindo’s growing role has coincided with Maryland’s surge from being unranked to a top 15 team in the nation. As Maryland finishes out their regular season, they are poised for deep Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament runs, so look out for #14.