Commentary: Why Archie Miller, IU need to land in-state star Romeo Langford

Photo: Indy Star

Commentary: Why Archie Miller, IU need to land in-state star Romeo Langford


Commentary: Why Archie Miller, IU need to land in-state star Romeo Langford


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – If the question is, “What would Romeo Langford mean for IU?” then you can probably already work out the answer.

Or, really, answers. And that doesn’t make them any less tantalizing.

In basic terms, Langford is a top-five talent, probably one of the best players to come through Indiana in the last generation. In a state that prides itself on its deep well of prep stars, Langford is going to sit next to Gary Harris, Trey Lyles, Cody Zeller and Deshaun Thomas among the best prospects the state has produced this decade.

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Just consider that for a minute, because all those dudes are in the NBA. And I’m betting Langford is there before very long as well.

But when you add the context of what it would mean to IU, a school whose fans take pride not just in their program’s success but its long history of success built around homegrown talent, Langford’s appeal increases.

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Then when you consider what it would say about new coach Archie Miller and his staff, that they could be hired in March 2017 and land one of the most talented players in 2018 by the end of that recruiting cycle, again, there’s another layer.

It’s important to mention that I don’t think most IU fans harbor delusions about Langford. The majority will know how high-level recruitments work and seem to understand how difficult it will be for Miller to make up ground on the wide field of blue-blood suitors that have been involved with the New Albany High star for years now.

But it won’t be for lack of trying. Langford is a priority for the Hoosiers, and with five spots open in 2018, there’s plenty of room.

Two of those were claimed Monday, when Miller landed three commitments in a space of 24 hours. One of those pledges came from Race Thompson, a forward from Minnesota who will reclassify and join IU this fall, while the other two — Jerome Hunter and Damezi Anderson — speak to depth concerns along the wing Indiana needs this class to address.

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Indiana is also prioritizing a pure point guard in 2018, a floor leader who can develop at the head of the Hoosiers’ offense long term.

But there will always be a spot for Langford until he commits, to IU or elsewhere, a reflection of both his talent and the importance of IU’s involvement.

None of this should come as a terrible surprise. “In-state school targets elite in-state talent” might be the least stunning potential headline imaginable.

For Miller, though, the statement of landing a player of Langford’s stature can’t be overstated.

It would even more strongly suggest what the Sunday/Monday commitment flurry already has, that Miller and his staff are ready to take a seat at college basketball’s biggest recruiting table, just months after arriving in Bloomington. Most of the head coaches pursuing Langford have landed players of his caliber before. For Miller, it would be a significant first.

It would also hand Miller a potential All-American, likely his first Mr. Basketball, in his first full recruiting class, giving the Hoosiers a cornerstone player for the 2018-19 season.

And it could — depending upon the development of key underclassmen already on roster — position Miller for a fantastic second season in charge.

Again, I know that perhaps none of this surprises you. It’s easy to recognize how Langford would fit in the grand scheme at IU, and what his commitment would mean.

Just know that it being easy to understand doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a massive statement of intent.

For more, visit the Indianapolis Star


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