It’s something New Albany coach Jim Shannon isn’t looking forward to, but the longtime Bulldog coach can see Romeo Langford’s fabulous high school career quickly coming to an end.
New Albany (19-1), ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, is riding a 16-game winning streak as it heads into the final two weeks of the regular season. The Bulldogs will play Langford’s final home game against Bedford North Lawrence on Friday night.
Langford, the school’s first McDonald’s All-American and one of the top recruits in the entire country, has piled up some staggering numbers. He’s scored 701 points this season, good for a scoring average of 36.9. In the last four games, he’s poured in 191 points, including outbursts of 63 and 53 points.
“I really don’t want to think about that (Langford’s career ending),” Shannon said. “I didn’t want to think about my kids graduating high school or college or my son moving to Arizona for his job. He’s not going to be here much longer.
“But we’ve still got a ways to go,” Shannon said. “I’m excited for his future. But, he has some unfinished work left to do here.”
Still, Shannon can see a mature basketball player emerging right in front of him.
“He’s ready for his next chapter — he really is,” Shannon said. “His high school career has been phenomenal. He needs that next level. He plays so hard, so well and so smart. He plays within himself and doesn’t force anything at all.
“And yet, sometimes I feel like he needs more of a challenge. But we want to make that run to the state. After that, it’s time.
“As much as I’ll hate to see him go, it’s time,” the New Albany coach said of Langford, who has narrowed his college choices to Kansas, Vanderbilt and Indiana.
During Langford’s four years, the Bulldogs are 94-9. The have two regular season games left. The sectional draw is Feb. 18.
Regardless what happens in the regular season and tournament, Shannon will coach Langford two more times after the New Albany season is complete.
Shannon, who has 540 wins over the course of 34 seasons, will coach the Indiana All-Stars June 8-9 against the best from Kentucky.
“It’s really a lifetime achievement,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that went into it. It is special to get recognized by your peers.”
After he found out he’d be the All-Star coach, Shannon said he knew he’d coach Langford again.
“That was the first thing out of my mouth,” he said. “I get to coach Ro (Romeo) two more games.”