Romeo Langford, others from class of 2018 battling for spot on Team USA U19 squad

Photo: David Lee Hartlage, Courier-Journal

Romeo Langford, others from class of 2018 battling for spot on Team USA U19 squad

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Romeo Langford, others from class of 2018 battling for spot on Team USA U19 squad

Romeo Langford visited Vatican City and the Colosseum and won two basketball games in Italy last week.

His favorite part of the five-day trip, which included three games against top European players, was time spent in Venice.

“Just seeing a whole city made on water,” the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from New Albany said. “Only way to travel was by walking and boat. That was really cool.”

If things go well next week, Langford will be visiting Egyptian pyramids soon. He’ll compete for a spot on the USA men’s under-19 team at training camp beginning Sunday in Colorado Springs. The World Championships are July 1-9 in Cairo.

RELATED: Elite point guard Immanuel Quickley getting used to the grind

Langford is one of five rising high school seniors competing for a spot against nine rising college freshmen and 13 players who have completed at least one college season.

“It’s going to be guys older than me, so I get experience being able to play against top guys that I don’t normally get to play against in high school,” Langford said. “Just seeing how I match up against them since they’re already in college and see where I am today.”

The 12-man roster is expected to be announced June 22 after five days of practice. Kentucky coach John Calipari, who will lead the under-19 team for the first time this summer, praised safety procedures taken by Team USA and officials in Cairo and the Egyptian government. Langford says he has no concerns. If he makes the team, he’ll make the trip.

“I’m going there to make the team first of all, but I can’t do anything but get better when I go there,” Langford said. “I’ll be playing against college guys and guys older than me. That’s the main thing about it.”

High-profile college programs like North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana and others covet Langford, the No. 3 overall player in the 2018 class. He said he’s not focused right now on figuring out where he’ll play in college. He’s working and making these trips to get better. That’s why he went to Italy for the Adidas Eurocamp. He played alongside some of the best players in the 2018 class, including guards Immanuel Quickley and Cameron Reddish, who will also be at Team USA training camp. They played against a collection of European stars, who in turn were trying to impress NBA scouts and general managers of European professional clubs.

“In high school, I really don’t get to play against the guys I do in the summer, so when AAU comes, you’ve got to get better,” Langford said. “That’s the main thing when you’re playing different, elite guys.”

One recruiting angle will be in play next week. Calipari has the opportunity to spend time with and coach Langford, Quickley, Reddish, Bol Bol and Louis King, all Kentucky 2018 targets.

“It’s a chance to see how he works and likes to coach his guys,” Langford said. “It’s also a way for me to see how college coaches work in general, just to see how practice is for college guys, so when I do go to college, I’ll be ready for it.”

Last week marked Langford’s first time out of the country. The goal is to take the second overseas trip soon and help the United States win a third consecutive gold medal. For a player becoming accustomed to international stages, he’s adjusting to his role as a veteran traveler.

“Just had to really get used to the time change, them being six hours ahead of us,” Langford said. “That was one of the toughest things.”

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