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The Journal Gazette

Monday, April 30, 2018 7:40 pm

Langford chooses Indiana

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

In a packed gym at New Albany High School Monday night, Romeo Langford drew an enormous roar from the crowd when he put on an Indiana hat, committing to play for the Hoosiers next season.

Langford was the top undecided player in the country and chose the Hoosiers over Kansas and Vanderbilt, a trio that had he had locked in as his finalists more than five months ago. His commitment likely completes the 2018 Indiana freshman recruiting class, with five newcomers set to join the Hoosiers for the upcoming season.

The Hoosiers' class ranked No. 21 in the country and fourth in the Big Ten per before Langford's commitment and will likely finish significantly higher thanks to the New Albany guard. Coming into the night, Maryland's class was the best in the conference and No. 7 nationally, but IU has a chance to leapfrog even the Terrapins. The Hoosiers are one of only three schools with five players rated four-star or higher.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard fills a significant hole in the Indiana roster for the upcoming season. With Robert Johnson graduating and Devonte Green still a streaky shooter, the Hoosiers really didn't have anyone who can get his own shot from the perimeter on a consistent basis. Langford certainly can and while he hasn't faced anything resembling Big Ten competition, he'll likely benefit from not facing double- and triple-teams every night. He has the ability to be the Hoosiers' top perimeter option from Day 1 and if Juwan Morgan returns, the pair will be a formidable inside-outside combination.

Langford is the No. 6 recruit in the country and the top prospect in Indiana, making his commitment a significant recruiting success for second-year coach Archie Miller, who landed three of the top five players in Indiana in his first full recruiting class at the helm of the program. Indiana recruits Damezi Anderson and Robert Phinisee rank No. 3 and No. 4 in the state, respectively, per 24/7. 

Sunday night, Langford won the Mr. Basketball award as the best high school player in the state, beating out Anderson and Phinisee, who were both finalists. Langford's commitment to IU marks the first time Mr. Basketball has chosen to play for the Hoosiers since Cody Zeller did so in 2011. Zeller was the third award-winner to play for Indiana in five years after both Eric Gordon and Jordan Hulls also suited up in the Cream and Crimson.

Langford earned the honor after averaging 35.5 points per game as a senior and finishing his career as the fourth-leading scorer in the history of Indiana high school basketball. The guard's Bulldogs team ended the season 25-2, falling to eventual undefeated state champion Warren Central 64-62 in a semistate matchup.