Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino said that Adidas won a battle to sponsor an AAU team run by Romeo Langford’s father that he said was part of an effort to land him at an Adidas-sponsored college.
Pitino told Courier-Journal on Wednesday that two Adidas officials met with Langford’s father in early 2017 discuss their efforts to keep Nike and Under Armour from landing the highly touted recruit from New Albany.
“What they said to me (was) they’re doing everything possible to keep Romeo Langford’s team on the (Adidas) AAU circuit,” Pitino told Courier-Journal.
Courier-Journal efforts to reach Romeo’s father, Tim Langford, an Indiana University spokesperson and New Albany boys basketball coach Jim Shannon were unsuccessful.
The news of Adidas’ efforts to keep Romeo Langford was first reported by The Washington Post.
Pitino and Adidas sources told the Post that Tim Langford wanted to run his own youth basketball team featuring his son. Adidas, Nike and Under Armour each operate basketball leagues, which they use to develop relationships with high school recruits.
Adidas’ league added a new team: Twenty Two Vision, which featured Romeo Langford as a player and Tim Langford was reportedly the team director.
Pitino, who was recruiting Langford before he was fired as Louisville’s head coach amid a federal college basketball recruiting investigation, shared text messages with the Post that supported his story.
“The way they phrased it, it was whoever [shoe company] was going to pay the dad’s AAU program the most money, gets it,” Pitino told the Post.
Romeo Langford committed to Indiana, which is sponsored by Adidas, on April 30. He chose Indiana over Kansas, an Adidas school, and Vanderbilt, which has a Nike sponsorship.
“That’s the way that world works,” Pitino said. “Which is completely legal, by the way.”