When the final Rivals rankings for the 2018 basketball class were released earlier this week, Romeo Langford came in at No. 6.
On the surface, the New Albany (Ind.) star’s recruiting ranking tells us nothing about his future in college or the NBA. Kevin Love was ranked No. 6. He is a five-time NBA All-Star. Jason Fraser was No. 6. He never played a minute in the NBA.
Langford, who will publicly announce his college decision April 30 in the New Albany gym – choosing from Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt – has said that he does not pay much attention to recruiting rankings. Wise choice. But scouring the recruiting rankings of years past can be a fun exercise for the rest of us. And it might tell us something about Langford.
Consider this: Of the 84 players ranked No. 1 through No. 6 by Rivals from 2003 to 2016, 69 were selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Another 10 were picked in the second round. Only five went undrafted.
Or this: Of the 28 players ranked either No. 5 (Langford is ranked fifth by 247sports) or No. 6 in the same time period (2003 to 2016), 20 were first-round draft picks. The “one-and-done” rule was implemented in 2006. Since then, 16 of the 26 players ranked No. 5 or 6 by Rivals have played one season of college basketball before entering the NBA draft. Five have played two seasons, three have played three seasons and only two have played all four years of college basketball.
What does that tell us, as it relates to Langford? The numbers would say he will be a one-and-done player. The statistics signal that he will be a first-round pick. But you probably already knew that. The question is where he will spend that year before he is a first-round NBA pick.
But while we wait for that answer, why not take a look back?