Romeo Langford decision: How the superstar fits at Kansas, Indiana, and Vanderbilt

Photo: Doug McSchooler, Indy Star

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Romeo Langford is the top unsigned senior in the country. The five-star shooting guard from New Albany High School shortened his list to three potential landing spots in mid-November.

The coveted southern Indiana product saw his storied high school career come to an end on Saturday in the IHSAA Class 4A semifinals. Langford finishes as the state of Indiana’s fourth all-time leading scorer with 3,002 points and one state title in 2016 (just the second state championship in New Albany program history).

Warren Central defeated Romeo Langford and New Albany in the 4A IHSAA semistate on a last-second shot to win 64-62. (Photo: Matt Kryger, Indy Star)

After participating in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 28th, Langford is expected to make his college decision at some point during April in the late signing period.

Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt are all hopeful to land the services of Langford. With all that in mind, here’s a closer look at each school’s chances.

1. Indiana: The Hometown Option

The obvious advantage that the Hoosiers have in the recruitment Romeo Langford is that Indiana is home.

Similar to the situation of Zion Williamson at Spartanburg Day, Langford was given the chance to transfer to any number of prep powerhouses during the course of his high school career. Nevertheless, at the conclusion of each season, Langford continually chose to stay home.

For a long period of time, recruiting experts believed that the 6-foot-5 shooting guard would also follow suit with his college decision by staying home at Louisville.

The city of New Albany is located on the Ohio River with Louisville, Ky., positioned on the opposite side of the river. In fact, it’s only a fifteen minute drive from New Albany High School to the University of Louisville.

However, after the 2017 recruiting scandal that saw Rick Pitino fired as head coach, Langford announced that he would no longer be considering the Cardinals. With John Calipari and Kentucky also out of the picture, Indiana is firmly positioned as the hometown option for Langford.

For their part, Indiana fans have not been shy about expressing their interest in the shooting guard from New Albany. Practically all of Langford’s games eventually turned into a mini-recruiting pitch for the Hoosiers.

Indiana fans have worked hard to make New Albany feel like Assembly Hall. The value of playing in front of a fanbase that has loved and followed Langford for his entire career is something that neither Kansas or Vanderbilt can match.

2. Kansas: The Proven Winner

Kansas has the advantage of being the program with the most current success. With the Jayhawks, Romeo Langford can be certain of what he’s committing to.

Indiana is still in the midst of a rebuild under first-year head coach Archie Miller, while Vanderbilt has won only a single SEC Championship in the last 50 years and has never appeared in the Final Four.

At Kansas, Langford would immediately be inserted into a loaded roster with a trio of McDonald’s All Americans in Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes and David McCormack.

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By next season, three more talented transfers would be eligible to play for the Jayhawks in brothers Dedric and KJ Lawson (from Memphis) and Charlie Moore (from California). Not to mention, any number of players from this year’s roster that won a record 14th consecutive Big 12 championship could return.

With the addition of Romeo Langford, Kansas would easily rival Duke, Oregon and UCLA for the nation’s top recruiting class.

For these reasons, Kansas is the most logical choice from a pure winning perspective. Vanderbilt (with its impressive freshman class) would certainly be a national title contender, but Kansas remains the safer option if Romeo Langford wants to play for a proven winner.

3. Vanderbilt: The Up-and-Comer

The rise of Vanderbilt on the recruiting trail has been one of the more interesting storylines in college basketball this season.

Second-year head coach Bryce Drew has nabbed commitments from two McDonald’s All-Americans in Simi Shittu and Darius Garland. He also gained a commitment from four-star small forward Aaron Nesmith from South Carolina.

Even without Romeo Langford, Vanderbilt has stock-piled the greatest recruiting class in program history. The addition of Langford would easily push Vanderbilt onto the short-list of contenders to win the 2019 National Championship.

Indiana and Kansas have two of the most successful programs in college basketball history, but Vanderbilt has never achieved perennial power status. Some players might view this as a major negative, but Langford has remained positive about building something special and getting Nashville “put back on the map” according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

At Vanderbilt, Langford would get the opportunity to create history while playing for a young head coach who holds six seasons of NBA experience. The uniqueness of this opportunity has led many experts to believe that Vanderbilt might be the frontrunner in the race for Romeo Langford.

The Decision

Romeo’s father, Tim, recently told the Indianapolis Star that his son would make a decision between April 13 and April 30.

Until that time, it’s anyone’s best guess as to where the talented senior will choose to play his college basketball.

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