A small town in southern Indiana was the epicenter of the college basketball world Monday night, as Romeo Langford made his long-awaited commitment. By picking his home-state Indiana Hoosiers and young coach Archie Miller, Langford set off a raucous statewide celebration and likely accelerated the rebuilding process of one of college basketball’s blue bloods.
No, Indiana isn’t at the bottom of college basketball like it was at the start of the Tom Crean era. But back-to-back seasons without an NCAA Tournament appearance are unacceptable in the Hoosier state. Miller was given a grace period in his first season, stumbling to a 16-15 record. With Langford in tow, the 39-year-old head coach has no excuses for the 2018-19 season.
Miller’s ability to recruit the top players in the state of Indiana will have a huge impact on his future. There were four four or five-star prospects from Indiana in this year’s recruiting class. Three of them chose the Hoosiers. As Gary Parrish pointed out, there were 23 four or five-star prospects in the state in the previous five recruiting classes, and only one picked Indiana. It’s clear Miller is focused on turning that around.
Indiana’s staff deserves a ton of credit for landing Langford, a kid many believe is the best high school player in the state’s history. A year ago, the Hoosiers weren’t even in contention. Miller and company worked like crazy to earn their way back into the conversation. That work paid off.
Now, a team without a reliable perimeter scorer has one. Combine Langford with Juwan Morgan, Justin Smith, Devonte Green and a ton of talented young players yet to break through, and the Hoosiers look like an immediate competitor in the Big Ten.
While Langford’s time on campus will likely be short, the ripple effect will almost certainly be enormous. Programs and coaches need that first big commitment to send a message to other top recruits. They need someone to step up and say “it’s OK to play here.” Langford’s commitment did just that. It was a billboard to other top recruits.
On top of that, Langford will take up a ton of the team’s stress offensively. That will allow the team’s other incoming freshmen and young players to ease into their roles. Indiana had a fantastic recruiting class without Langford, but with him the group became potentially transcendent.
Smooth wing scorer Jerome Hunter, lanky shooter Damezi Anderson and dynamic point guard Robert Phinisee are all four-star players. Three-star power forward Jake Forrester is a ball of potential and a top 150 recruit on 247Sports, while four-star freshman Race Thompson reclassified from the 2018 class to 2017, but opted to redshirt. He’s really a member of this recruiting class.
Those guys are all likely three and four-year players, giving Miller a solid base to build from. Hitting the floor with a star like Langford will only make them all better. Maybe this doesn’t work out, but given a coach of Archie Miller’s pedigree, a group of players like that — led by a bona fide superstar in Romeo Langford — and the resources available at Indiana University, it’s not hard to see the Hoosiers returning to glory in short order.
Miller and Langford will now forever be linked and the latter’s commitment could be looked at as a turning point. If they perform as expected, the pair could be responsible for the rebirth of Indiana basketball and become heroes.
Monday night, in a small town in southern Indiana an 18-year-old announced where he was going to college. That decision may have significantly altered the landscape of college basketball.