Romeo Langford is a high schooler. He’s still just a kid. I feel the need to mention that off the top of this piece, because his words, movements and decisions are often given the same level of scrutiny as the leader of a moderately-sized nation. At the end of this month, Langford will choose a college and his decision will have an enormous impact. People shouldn’t care as much as they do, but lets face it, that’s the way sports work.
Langford is the top remaining unsigned high school basketball player in the country. He’s earned nearly every accolade you can bestow on a prep player while hooping at New Albany High School in Indiana. The kid has the talent you can build a team around and a personality you can construct a program around. He’s a coach and a fan’s dream. The rare player you secretly root for even if he’s facing your favorite side.
Painfully humble, incredibly smart and ridiculously talented, Langford is exactly what a high-level athlete should be. He’s almost too perfect, which is why he’s getting so much scrutiny.
A first-team Naismith High School All-American, Langford finished his career third on Indiana’s all-time state scoring list with 3,002 points. The 6’5″ shooting guard is a dynamic scorer who can get it done from everywhere on the floor. Unlike some of the other top players in his class, his ranking isn’t solely due to an NBA draft projection. He’s going to have an impact immediately next season.
The three programs battling it out for his signature could all use the scoring punch he’ll bring. At each he would join an already stacked recruiting class.
At Indiana he would be teaming up with four-stars Jerome Hunter, Damezi Anderson and Robert Phinisee and three-star Jake Forrester (all of whom are top 150 recruits) to give Archie Miller the foundation of his rebuild.
Fans of all three programs are on the edge of their seats waiting for April 30 and Langford’s decision. He will be the best player on whichever team he chooses and has the kind of talent to lead a team to a Final Four immediately. That’s how good he is.
As for his potential destinations, each offers something different.
Bryce Drew has convinced recruits he’s building something at Vanderbilt. Despite a 31-36 record in two years in charge of the Commodores, he has two five-star guys coming and Langford seriously interested. That’s some remarkable work for a guy leading a third-tier SEC program. You have to respect Drew’s work on the recruiting trail so far.
Kansas is…well, it’s Kansas. A team that will dominate during the regular season and make periodic deep runs. While Bill Self’s track record in March isn’t the best, he’s an outstanding coach and has sent a ton of players to the NBA. If Langford needs a break from the hoopla that’s followed him in Indiana, he really couldn’t go wrong in Lawrence.
Then there’s Indiana, the school that undoubtedly wants him the most. His entire state has followed every move he’s made the last two years, and Miller has done an incredible job getting the Hoosiers back in to the race for Langford’s commitment. If he goes to IU he’ll be a hero. There’s zero doubt of that. While not everyone wants that kind of attention, Langford has shown over this past year that he’s built to handle it:
Each of those fan bases knows what Langford means. He might be the most important player in the 2018 class. There are bigger names, but it’s unlikely any one else will have a bigger impact on a program as a whole.
Romeo Langford’s commitment matters. No matter where he goes, fans of every program should support him. He’s a great kid who has played the recruiting game straight up. Here’s hoping he makes the best decision for his future.