Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ex-Jayhawk Langford dazzles in Italy

Former Kansas University basketball player Keith Langford speaks at the Bill Self Basketball Camp in this 2008 file photo.

Former Kansas University basketball player Keith Langford speaks at the Bill Self Basketball Camp in this 2008 file photo.


Former Kansas University basketball player Keith Langford — who recently led his La Fortezza Virtus team to a first-place finish at the 2009 EuroChallenge — has finished third in most valuable player voting in the Italian League.

“Usually they give it to somebody whose team finished in first place. His team was fifth. To finish third (in voting) is a great honor,” Langford’s agent, Michael Whitaker, said Monday.

Former Clemson guard Terrell McIntyre of regular-season champ Montepaschi Siena was tapped the league’s top player.

Langford embraced a sixth-man role in averaging 12.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 assists in 29 games. He averaged 14.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in earning MVP honors at the recent 15-game EuroChallenge.

His squad is currently competing in the first round of the Italian League playoffs.

“At first it was tough for him to embrace his role,” Whitaker said of the 6-foot-4 Langford, who played 28.0 minutes per game. “(But) it’ll catch NBA eyes. He’s a guy you could bring off the bench to fill it up. I told Keith in all honesty, ‘If you make an NBA roster, this is how it’ll be.’”

Langford’s Italian League team is close to signing him to a new two-year, $2 million deal, Whitaker said.

However, Langford is hoping for a buyout clause that would let him out of the contract if he makes the roster of an NBA team this summer or fall.

Langford plans to play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer-league team in Las Vegas.

“A lot of teams have called. The (Washington) Wizards called. That situation didn’t look good. They have 14 under contract,” Whitaker said. “The (Memphis) Grizzlies called. The Lakers have only eight under contract for next year, with only one on the team required to play summer league. You want to get with a team where you have a chance to play (many minutes in the summer) and make the team.”

Robinson update: Former KU guard Russell Robinson — who averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists per game this past season for Reno (Nevada) of the NBA Developmental League — told he’ll attend a minicamp with the Cleveland Cavaliers in late June.

He also has been invited to play for the Orlando Magic in the NBA summer league in Orlando, Fla.

Robinson hit 44.8 percent of his shots, including 36.7 percent from three in 50 games. He said he also has received interest from the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.

Thomas to decide soon: Transferring KU forward Quintrell Thomas’ AAU coach tells that Thomas will choose either UNLV, St. Joe’s or Siena “in the next day or so.”

Stephenson update: Lance Stephenson, a 6-6 guard/forward from Lincoln High in Brooklyn, N.Y., has yet to choose a college. He’s believed to be interested in Arizona and Memphis, but has not yet visited either school.

KU stopped recruiting Stephenson after landing Xavier Henry of Oklahoma City.’s Gary Parrish writes that “even traditionally powerful schools that need players, like Arizona — are passing on Stephenson like he’s Hamburger Helper at Cousin Eddie’s.”

Parrish’s anonymous sources said that they believe “dealing with his father will create more headaches than wins, and/or that the NCAA might eventually question whether Stephenson’s amateur status has been compromised. He has been a high-profile prospect since before high school, a notable talent on the summer circuit where agents and the runners who gather for them tend to invest in the futures of potential stars.”


KEITHMILES05 11 years, 4 months ago

If I was Keith I'd take the cool 2 mil for 2 years. At least his agent is telling the cold hard facts/truth.

Timmay97 11 years, 4 months ago

I can honestly say that the more I read about Stephenson, the more I respect Self's decision to bring both Henry's to Lawrence. It seems the Henry's don't have the baggage that Lance would bring. And if this information is true about Lance's father.....that's the last thing the Jayhawks need. No distractions next year!

I'm truly happy for Langford. I thought he was a huge talent when he was with KU....he was just a little undersized. It's just good to see all these kids continue to make a living playing ball. Doesn't matter where they are playing, most of them are more financially sound than any of us.

Congrats to Russell and Keith! Keep up the hard work guys and you'll get to where you want to be.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree, a good agent gives good advice. He should just make sure that he gets paid in euros.......

overseashawk 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree one million percent about staying put in Italy. He could be set for life for two years of playing ball in Italy. He'd get paid in €'s tax free! Plus, I've spent some time in Italy and you couldn't ask for a more beautiful or friendly country.

The fact of the matter is that if Keith plays in the NBA he'll get the !&£( taxed out of him and will not get a very lucrative contract. He'd be lucky to be guaranteed a multi-year contract.

yates33333 11 years, 4 months ago

I hope Russell hooks up with the NBA or with a European club that will pay him what he is worth. I agree with the comments on Keith taking the money. Why sit on the bench and take a pounding now and then in the NBA when you can become an instant millionaire?

KUPROUD 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm a Langford fan, but come on, guys, I need a current Jayhawk BB fix. What did Cole have for breakfast? How's Bill's golf game? Just anything will do to fill this dry period. Throw me a bone, please.

Joe Baker 11 years, 4 months ago

Langford will do well in whatever he does, he always has! He'll do fine either in Italy or the NBA. I think if he does take some NBA deal, they'll jerk him around and he doesn't deserve any of that treatment. He's the real deal and teams are stupid not to give him a real chance. The 2 mil in Italy looks much more promising. RR is going to get better and increase his stock and he will end up in a great situation.
I'm real disappointed in Lance. The real sad thing is, he's not college or academic material and I'm afraid Wall is the same way. These guys have sacrificed too much to be the blue chip they are today and their educations have suffered.

Greg Lux 11 years, 4 months ago

Lance is a great example why they need to stop the one and done .. Let these Non-academic kids go straight to the NBA finishing school. Make college a 3 yr minimum program so kids get what college is made for Academics!. I feel kids who are one and done just hurt college basketball programs in the long run. If you know a kid is going to be there 3 years you can build a program and make it work.

Rock Chalk

speedy 11 years, 4 months ago

I for one like these up dates on past players! nice to know their BB days are not over. anyone know if Kieth . ever got his awards replaced after they were stolen? something about being a NBA player for any length of time is compelling, being able to say I played in the NBA is a huge thing. is it worth 2 million? kieth will make his choice. tempting isn,it?

hawksince51 11 years, 4 months ago

Agree with KUPROUD--we need at least a weekly fix of current jayhawk news considering our high expectations for 09/10. So far as Langford and RR, I would be shocked (pleasantly so) if either ever has a significant NBA career. I am happy that Langford can make that much in Euro $ in Italy, especially in light of the many European players grabbing NBA $ here. Helps the balance of payments. IMHO, RR would not have been a starter for most of the 07/08 season if Collins had not been injured at CU in Jan. I wish RR all the best here in the USA but believe he should also be thinking about grabbing some of those Euro $ while he can. They served Mark Randall and Wayne Simien well.

speedy 11 years, 4 months ago

would it be ironic if lance and wall both failed to get on a college roster. they have passed on the good teams. being voted #1 by polls is not always good for some overrated young players. me? i could care less if they play anwhere.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 4 months ago

I think Keith should pursue an NBA career. Yes, he can make money in Europe, but playing the NBA at some point, is a goal all young basketball players have. Europe will be there regardless if he makes an NBA squad. What is the worst that can happen? He plays Summer league, doesn't make it, and goes back to Italy, only this time with a resume of being voted 3rd for MVP?

Jason Roberts 11 years, 4 months ago

If Keith works his butt off for the Lakers he stands to possibly gain a roster spot for the '09-'10 season. In addition to a bona fide PG, the Lakers' other main need is a dependable backup shooting guard (sorry Sasha Vujacic) that can come off the bench and provide scoring in Kobe's absence.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 4 months ago

Hawksince51: I believe RR started out playing in Europe and gave it up. He said he didn't like being so far from home.

KUFan90 11 years, 4 months ago

Stephenson and Wall will land somewhere. Stephenson might have to take a step down, but Wall still has his choice of high profile schools.

Thanks for the updates on former Hawks and recuits Gary!! Keep em coming!

jaybate 11 years, 4 months ago

Off Season Update...

} Sources at the KU training table indicate that for breakfast this morning Cole Aldrich ate 6 jumbo free range eggs scrambled in Kerrigold Irish butter, a dozen rashers of thick sliced bacon cut from a prize pig from KSU's ag farm (appropriated by a KU student special ops squad), hash browns from four baked potatoes, Texas toast, 16 Norwegian rosettes flown in from Minnesota, a power bar,and all of that washed down with two gallons of raw milk and a pot of Fogbreaker Coffee. In the parlance of KU athletes, this is called a Quadruple Hudy, named in affectionate honor of KU's weight training coach, Andrea Hudy. Aldrich is reputedly the first KU basketball player ever to consume a Quadruple Hudy. KU football players on the offensive line do it routinely.

} Sources in Italy indicate that Keith Langford said the toughest thing about learning to live in Italy was getting used to the conventions of the Autostrada, Italy's idiosyncratic equivalent to the Kansas Turnpike. In Kansas, and everywhere else on earth but Italy, Keith was used to paying tolls based on the distance driven on the Kansas toll road. In Italy, Keith discovered one pays tolls based on how much time one drives on the Autostrada. The faster you get from Point A to Point B the less you pay. This peculiarly Italian approach to high speed driving allows Italian authorities to set the speed limit at a fairly sensible speed, while the charge by the minute fee, encourages drivers to exceed the speed limit whenever possible. In other words it encourages the speeding necessary for ticketing by carabineri. What it does not explain is Italian civil engineering's harrowing preference for blind curves in narrow tunnels on the Autostrada!

} Sources also indicate that Keith Langford and drgnslr have organized the first unauthorized, patently illegal, Italian equivalent of The Cannon Ball Run from Aosta in Northern Italy to Melita di Porto Salvo at the southern tip of the Italian boot. It will be called The Jayhawk Run and will be staged during the last week of the Tour of France, so that all eyes will be off Italy. It is a classic run-what-u-brung, anything is legal race; the only stipulation being that cars be painted either crimson, or blue, and gear shifters sport a Jayhawk logo and one's year of graduation. The race culminates down south with drivers driving their cars as close to the Meditteranean Sea as they possibly can without actually touching wheels to water, stripping naked, running into the water, and swimming out to a 10 feet tall Jayhawk bouy floating a thousand yards off shore. Tied to the bouy will be a small barge with 420 cases of Coors. So far over 400 contestants have signed up. Proceeds from the race not pocketed by Keith, or drgnslr, will be donated to a need based scholarship fund for OADs when KU is already at the NCAA limit for scholarships.

overseashawk 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm pretty sure that the chicks are hotter in Italy than in an eventual D-League city! I hate to say it but Langford had his shot at the league. We can all thing back to Billy Thomas...He had a few end of the bench stints in the league...even got a bit of playing time in New Jersey. That being said I'd imagine that he would have made alot more money overseas than in the US.

Eliott Reeder 11 years, 4 months ago

You guys act like Keith Langford is destitute and waffling between taking the 2 million or gambling on the big NBA money. He has been playing overseas for years. He has made several million dollars already, if not "NBA millions", he should at least be set up pretty well for the financial future. And even if he makes the L, he is not getting some gigantic contract. He will probably make less. Regardless, it is every ball players dream to make it to the L. That is his motivation. He wants to play among the best in the world, and prove that he belonged at that level all along.

100 11 years, 4 months ago

Nice job LJW. Keep the hoops articles coming.

Jaybate did you notice Kentucky has Patterson now too? That leaves them with 16 scholarship players. How does the NCAA allow Calipari to bend every rule in the book?

That aside, it looks like Orton is now 3rd or 4th on the Depth chart. Not sure he (or anyone on UK's roster) are official considering they have 16 scholarship players and are still trying to sign Wall which would be 17 scholarship players.

The point is -- considering Orton is now realizing Calipari hoodwinked him & about five others, there seems to be a chance your Orton to Kansas thing could happen.

There's room here.

Any thoughts Jaybate?

jaybate 11 years, 4 months ago


Let's all chip together and create the need scholarship necessary to fit Orton in. We'll call it the Board Rat Scholarship.

FWIW, Self has been conspicuously quiet about all of this stuff and when Self is quiet that usually means he has aces some where about to be played.

Re: Calipari and UK being over the limit, does John have some friends in La Cosa Nostra that make him difficult to say no to, or to discipline? Just kidding. Frankly, I just think Cal is leading the way into guys giving up scholies to fit more talent on the way there was talk of KU doing. The difference is: Cal is actually doing it and testing how the NCAA will actually respond to this sort of thing.

Re: UK having the best recruiting class--I still think that Henry, Withey, Elijah, and Robinson are very difficult to beat.

100 11 years, 4 months ago


Put CJ into KU's recruiting class & that's five that have a shot at beating many F4 teams later in the season, after months of learning the Bill Self practice regimine.

Re: Conference play for teams on probation. Considering Cal's lack of success against the bigger conferences (KU, UTenn & MU come to mind), I wonder if the SEC will eventually just embarrass that weak offensive strategy called the dribble drive.

justanotherfan 11 years, 4 months ago

Why do people say that the Dribble Drive motion is a weak offense? I don't get it. I love that offense. I wish we had run that offense in high school. That offense isn't much different than Princeton's offense, or Bob Knight's motion, or Dean Smith's four corners, with one exception. Instead of getting the ball to the middle by passing the basketball, the DDM gets the ball to the middle of the floor by dribbling it.

The offense is predicated on having good ball handlers and decision makers on the floor at all times. It's not street ball. It takes tremendous discipline to run it well, because if people do not space the floor properly, the defense can clog the lane and prevent kick outs, breaking the offense down. You also have to be very good fundamentally on the drive, otherwise you will have a lot of offensive fouls on drives, or bad passes on kick outs. Your guards must all be proficient with the jump stop and be skilled passers on the move to either the post or the perimeter. Every player on the perimeter has to be able to handle the ball, otherwise it breaks down. It's perpetual motion, so after every drive, the offense basically regenerates itself. This offense places a lot of demands on guys off the ball, because they have to constantly work to create passing lanes for the ball handler, while maintaining spacing with their teammates.

I think a lot of the "street ball" reputation of the DDM is a product of most people having the longstanding belief that lots of dribbling is indicative of bad offense, and since the DDM is predicated on dribbling, it must be street ball, combined with the belief that good offensive movement requires screens, and DDM uses few screens because they clog up passing lanes. However, if you watch the DDM in practice, Memphis players were rarely just standing on the perimeter dribbling. They were always going towards the basket unless they were resetting the offense. Off the ball, players were constantly changing their position based on the penetration so they would be open for a kick out when the defense collapsed.

If you want to read more about DDM than I care to write here, go here.

Just get the facts before saying that the DDM is not a good offense when it basically mimics the three offenses that every high school in the country runs (basic motion, Princeton, four corners).

Blake Post 11 years, 4 months ago

While it is great to see pros like the Truth drive to the whole and score or draw a foul, in college it seems a lot just get out of control or shot blocked.

Go Langford.

and Go Celtics. How fab that would be to outlast another series even without KG. Need a hot spell from Ray though.

Joel Hood 11 years, 4 months ago

I’m no Cal fan, but I have to agree with justanotherfan regarding the dribble drive. It is more than just street ball and it is very difficult to guard when you have really good athletes at every spot. It is truly designed to take advantage of lesser athletes and sagging defenses. It works great until you put some seriously good defensive players (Chalmers, Rush, RussRob) up against it. Cal has been very successful with it in C-USA, where there is an abundance of lesser players. But, if the SEC steps up defensively, it won’t be as successful as it was in C-USA.

I don’t think it is either better or worse than the modified high/low passing philosophy of Self, but each system plays to the strengths of the players on your team. Look at what Roy coached the first 2 to 3 years he was at KU – a classic motion offense with a tough nosed defense. It works better for teams who are heady, but less athletic. As Roy got more studs, he ran more – a lot more – and you rarely saw the passing of his 1989-91 teams.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 4 months ago

  1. Great to see Keith Langford doing great things and making money, the guy was always money for KU except that horrendous Bucknell game when he tried to play hurt. If his dream is to play in the NBA, then he should not worry about more money and focus on getting there. He already had a cup of coffee in the league with the Spurs so he knows he's good enough. And the Billy Thomas story is a great one.
  2. Stephenson waited too long and is a cautionary tale. I assume coach Self asked him to hold off on his announcement when Cal was about to take the UK job, knowing how the chips might fall. It was a risk but paid off so far in us getting Xavier and CJ. It would be interesting to see Stephenson at Memphis, maybe he would prove that we should have taken him all along.
  3. I'm psyched for this year's Jayhawk Run. I love the thin Italian pizza.
  4. Does anyone know any restaraunts that serve a Quad Hudy?
  5. I don't really understand all of the Orton talk. From what I understood, we stopped recruiting him in favor of Robinson so he went to his safety school, UK. I don't see why the Cal situation would change anything in the status of our recruitment or non-recruitment of him since we already passed on him.

JayhawkPhil64 11 years, 4 months ago

In addition to Strikewso's point #5, has anyone who keeps bringing up Orton's name actually seen him in an AAU game?. The guy is a complete head case. We definitely dodged a bullet by not getting this guy.

100 11 years, 4 months ago


I'm well aware that certain publications are on Calipari's side with this. Not sure who paid them.

Look at the last six games Cal's teams played against a bigger conference.

That's all you need to see. Cal & his strategy against athletes & coaches not in conference USA. Even with top tier talent.

He had nothing else to go to against 1. Syracuse 2. Missouri 3. Tennessee or 4. Kansas

He puts all of his eggs in that basket. Look at those tapes & tell me you see a coach with an offense that is under control in any way shape or form when it needs to be.

They look like a 7th grade team dribbling the ball standing around in crunch time (or getting it swiped dribbling into the paint)

speedy 11 years, 4 months ago

have you caught the scandle at USC yet? are you suprised? thats exactly why coach should stay away from those 3-4 players not yet signed. are they looking for money? one and done and who has to get the penalty? the univ. the player just goes on to the pros and denies it all!!!!!!!!!! beware when some one tells you he wants to play on the west coast.

Blake Post 11 years, 4 months ago

The Truth and company win another! Go Celtics!

100 11 years, 4 months ago


Good point, although that's why many (even at Memphis now that Calipari is gone) wonder what really does go on with some of these sleazier programs.

I am still amazed that UK, still in the hunt for Wall, has taken such a risk to their image. I mean if he never gets caught that's another story.

But let's be honest here, it's not only a few west coast teams doing this -- unless the NCAA is completely blind, Cal, if not this summer, will be the next big coacg to get caught -- the general public knowledge from his old players (and probation at UMass) that Cal bends every recruiting rule in the book, posted for all to see on YouTube during the no contact time not to mention by the Memphis fans themselves joking about the 40K per player.

It's ironic as much of what fueled his replacement was UNC about to catch them. The bigger irony is for all the money they brought him in on,some of that same money, whether in a players pocket or gym bag, will eventually put UK in the exact same hole they were in the last time they got caught paying players.

justanotherfan 11 years, 4 months ago


You make my point for me by pointing to the games Cal's teams have lost. Mizzou (Elite Eight team). Memphis lost because they gave up more points than they had all season (MU topped 100). They didn't have much problem putting up points when they needed them, even against a pretty good Missouri defense. The same MU defense that harassed many of their opponents into a million turnovers gave up 91 points to the DDM. And this is a Mizzou team DESIGNED to run and trap and press.

Syracuse (Sweet 16 team) plays a zone. A zone will give the DDM problems anyway, because it changes the angles of the drives and kicks. However, Memphis still got the ball into the middle quite a bit, and scored pretty effectively. They ultimately lost a game to a really good team. Also, this was prior to Memphis moving Tyreke Evans to the point full time, which really changed their team.

Tennessee was ranked #2 in the nation when they knocked off Memphis. Again, no slouch of a team there. They match up pretty well and ultimately outlasted Memphis, winning in the final minute.

And of course, Kansas. The national title game. Memphis gave us fits in that game (you have to admit that they did). Even with a ton of high level defenders (Rush, Chalmers, Robinson, Jackson, etc.) Memphis gave our defense fits and led for much of the second half. We even went zone for a while to make them get out of their regular attack, because we had our hands full. That's what you see if you watch the tape.

The DDM makes the defense shift because you have to stop the drive. It's so precise that Cal actually had marks put on Memphis' practice court to show how players were supposed to move off the ball depending on where the ball was. The DDM requires both patience and unselfishness, because all of your ball handlers have to be unselfish. When the defense collapses they MUST kick the ball out. That is the whole premise of the offense. Also, the DDM basically begs teams to play aggressive man to man, rather than a sagging zone. Why? Because the DDM preys on the seams created by hard nosed man to man defense. That's what creates the passing lanes. That's why Memphis puts up huge numbers against teams that press and trap.

Finally, a note on Cal. He started running this offense 3 years ago. Remember his UMass teams? They were a slow it down, pound it inside unit. Remember Marcus Camby? Lou Roe? Those guys were dominant in the post, and UMass built their team around slowing it down and pounding it inside. Cal has already adapted, from a slow down post offense to the DDM.

jaybate 11 years, 4 months ago

It is weird to be old enough to have a fond aspect of the game grown obsolete.

My dad used to wax poetic about the two hand set shot that was extinct by my youth.

But the beat goes on.

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