Transfer Portal Target: Harvard’s Chris Ledlum

When it comes to recruiting high school players, Todd Golden and his staff have been extremely aggressive going after the top available players in the 2024 class, with a complete lack of fear when it comes to competing against the top programs in the country.


It’s no different with the transfer portal where the Gators are going after the top available players that essentially every high major team in the country will go after. Most recently, it was Chris Ledlum, a graduate transfer from Harvard who instantly became one of the top players available after entering his name into the portal. Analytics tool Evan Miya currently has him as the 5th best player available, though many analyts suggest that Ledlum is the top name. Wherever he’s going to be ranked, he’s one of the best players available and that makes him a name that you need to know.


Ledlum is not a normal transfer target.


When it comes to heavily sought-after transfer portal targets, a lot of their stories are the same. It’s players that were under-recruited in high school which led to them going to a program and league that they were set to outperform. These players go on to put up crazy numbers, then enter their name into the portal to try to get to a bigger level to prove their abilities. 


That isn’t the case with Ledlum. 


Coming out of high school he was a 4-star player who had interest from high major programs–including Florida. He would likely have been able to play high major basketball right out of high school but academics were of high importance to him so he chose to go the Ivy League direction, picking Harvard. At any point during his four seasons at Harvard he could have entered the portal and probably gone high major, but he chose to complete his degree. In fact, there is a chance he would have even stayed at Harvard–but the Ivy League doesn’t allow players to play a graduate year (which is why there are a boat load of Ivy transfers in the portal right now). 


Last season Ledlum averaged 19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block per game for the Crimson, stuffing the stat sheet in just about every way possible. He’s listed at 6’6” and 225 pounds making him strong enough to play frontcourt positions when needed but agile and skilled enough to play on the perimeter at times as well. He largely guarded opposing power forwards, though he also matched up with wings and centers at different times. 


When it comes to scoring the ball, Ledlum was largely getting it done in the midrange area with either pull up jumpers or where he is at his best–facing up bigger forwards and taking them off the dribble. Ledlum is someone who is built to take advantage of mismatches, whether it’s using his speed to beat larger forwards to the rim or using his muscle to overwhelm smaller opponents. It’s hard to score 19 points a game in any league and the Ivy is a solid one–so if you’re going to put up those numbers you need to be able to score in a number of ways and that’s what Ledlum can do. He’s a creative finisher who can use both hands around the cup, and he also draws a lot of fouls.


As you can tell from his rebounding numbers he takes a lot of pride in that area, ferociously pursuing the ball every time it bounces off the rim. Florida struggled mightily on the defensive glass last season and it was largely due to a lack of physicality and desire to rebound from their wings, so if they were to get someone like Ledlum playing the three or four it would improve their rebounding exponentially. 


Defensively Ledlum is versatile when it comes to who he can guard, but his best attribute is probably his anticipation as a help defender. You can see with his steal and block numbers that he has an impact at the rim and in passing lanes and much of that is due to his intelligence and ability to see plays developing. 


Clearly, there is a ton that coaches love about him and why he is going to be one of the most heavily recruited players in the portal. He hasn’t set his final schools or made any indication when he’s going to announce, and it’s likely he’ll wait until after the NCAA Tournament to allow some of the schools competing in it to have a chance to properly recruit him.


If you are looking for negatives about why Ledlum might not be a slam dunk high major player, it starts with his shooting. The outside shot has always been an issue for Ledlum who is a career 29% three-point shooter on low volume. He’s also a career 64% free throw shooter, so when it comes to anything jump shot related he has struggled from time to time. His role on the Crimson was to take a lot of shots and he was at times inefficient and struggled with turnovers–though you’d think he’d be willing to take a more complimentary role at the high major level. 


Then, there’s the intangibles. Harvard has historically been a power in the Ivy League who regularly finishes in the top two in the league and regularly goes to the NCAA Tournament. In the last two years where Ledlum has been their leader and best player, they have finished second last. That isn’t to say the struggles are because of Ledlum, but seeing Harvard at the bottom of the Ivy for two years is a peculiar sight, no doubt. 


Though the jumper is an issue there is still a ton to like about Ledlum’s game and there is a reason he will have his pick of just about every program in the country. It won’t be an easy recruitment for the Gators but there are no easy recruitments when it comes to getting the players that are going to help you finish at the top of the SEC. Chris Ledlum is definitely a recruitment you need to follow.

Eric Fawcett
Eric is a basketball coach and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work has been found at NBA international properties, ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @ericfawcett_.