Romeo Langford is living up to his lofty billing. A star in a recruiting class full of them, big things were expected from the Indiana freshman guard. On Wednesday night, he and the Hoosiers proved we won’t have to wait for greatness, it’s already here.
Langford led unranked Indiana in a 96-73 rout of No. 24 Marquette in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. The phenom dropped 22 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out two assists, ripped three steals and added two blocks for good measure. He was clearly the best player all night on a floor that included preseason All-Big East pick Markus Howard.
It’s not just the all-around floor game that makes Langford special, it’s the way he goes about his business. At 6’6″ and 215 pounds, he’s got the size and length to score from anywhere on the court. While many freshman guards enter college basketball launching 3-pointers these days, Langford is a slasher. He’s impossibly smooth, attacks the hoop relentlessly and can already finish through contact. It’s remarkable how quickly he’s made the transition from Indiana high school ball to the college level.
The 19-year-old is polished, smart, savvy and willing to take what defenses give him. He’s also a fantastic passer and already possesses phenomenal court vision. He may not give you the eye-popping highlights the dominant Zion Williamson will, but he’s not far off from being that effective.
While Langford helped Indiana become a threat this season, Archie Miller has done incredible work with the rest of his roster. After missing postseason play a year ago, Miller knew he had to reshape his roster. A phenomenal recruiting class (led by Langford) helped that, as did the development of the guys already on campus. Wing Justin Smith already looks like a future pro, forward Juwan Morgan is a first-team All-Big Ten candidate and grad transfer Even Fitzner is a 6’10” sharpshooter who is already paying dividends.
This team has come together quickly and has the makings of a deep, athletic, smart, fun team. And, given Miller’s proclivities, you can bet this group will play tough, hard-nosed defense. Oh, and given the Hoosiers’ upcoming slate of games, these guys will be battle-tested by the time the meat of the Big Ten schedule arrives.
On Sunday, Indiana travels to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks to face “40 Minutes of Hell.” They travel to Duke on November 27, face Louisville on December 8 and battle Butler a week later. It won’t be an easy few weeks for Miller’s squad.
Despite only playing three games with a roster loaded with newcomers and guys in new roles, Indiana absolutely blitzed Marquette on Wednesday. Oh and — in case you weren’t aware — the Hoosiers were missing two starters, plus key reserves Race Thompson and Jerome Hunter. So yeah, Indiana is only going to get deeper and stronger.
Romeo Langford is the star attraction in Bloomington this season. Of that there is no doubt. But Archie Miller has something special cooking inside Assembly Hall. Indiana has a fantastic basketball team this season and it put the rest of college basketball on notice Wednesday night.