The time has come for Indiana prep standout and Hoosier State legend Romeo Langford to make his college decision public.
After months of speculation and discussion, years of recruiting and thousands of hours of work in the gym, the top remaining uncommitted prospect in the 2018 recruiting class is ready to announce his choice between finalists Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt.
The announcement will come during a ceremony at New Albany (Ind.) High, where Langford has been a star in every sense of the word for the past four years. Langford’s announcement is expected to come just after 6 p.m. tonight and the decision will be streamed live on WDRB TV’s web site and various other spots on Twitter.
The public has been invited. The town has been buzzing for weeks. There were even rumors that the governor of Indiana had received his own official invitation to the big event. But don't think for a second that that type of spectacle has bothered Langford or his family. It's quite the opposite, in fact.
“We're enjoying it,” said Romeo's father, Tim Langford, during an interview last week with WDRB TV in Louisville. “We're embracing each day. We could be on the other side and not be in the spotlight.”
That might never be the case again for the dynamic, 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard who is ranked No. 5 overall by 247 Sports and No. 6 by Rivals.com. Langford figures to be a star wherever he ends up, and his role on any of his three finalists certainly would be to tap into what he does best — put the ball in the basket.
“Whoever lands him gets a 6-5, bona fide shooting guard who scores in a variety of ways,” ESPN's Paul Biancardi, national director of recruiting for the ESPN 100, recently told the Journal-World. “Good shooter, great scorer and he'll take any of those programs and enhance wherever they are and put them at an even higher level in terms of what their expectations are.”
While Langford has kept nearly all of his thoughts private since naming his finalists months ago, his father told WDRB TV that he thought the younger Langford had reached a decision at some point last week.
The plan then was for the family to sit down and talk about it as a group one final time before letting the rest of the world know.
“We haven't really had a chance to really talk about it,” Tim Langford said. “We know about all three of the universities and I think we pretty much got an idea of what he wants to do, but he still (wanted) to discuss it with the family.”
That discussion was scheduled to take place sometime Saturday, which then would have given Langford two nights to sleep on it before committing.
Although Tim Langford said the entire family, including Romeo, has enjoyed the wild and crazy recruiting journey, he got the sense that they also were all ready to see it come to an end.
“Right now it's (mostly crazy for) me,” Tim Langford said. “I think it's kind of died down on Romeo, especially at the school. So he's pretty much laid back. But me, every time I go to work or go into stores, that's all we hear.”
Regardless of whether his son decides to stay home and help reenergize the Hoosiers program or seeks out to make a difference at Vanderbilt or become part of one of the most tradition-rich programs in all of college basketball at Kansas, Tim Langford said he hoped that everyone in the New Albany High gym would be pulling for Romeo above all else.
“My thing is, if it's not IU, (which) I don't know for sure if it's them or not, if they're truly Romeo fans, there's a difference between the school's fans and my son's fans,” he said. “And when it's all said and done, who's really for my son? Who's really a fan of him?”
In a matter of hours, the list of Romeo Langford fans will grow substantially, with fans at KU, IU or Vandy getting to see their favorite program add a late treat to its 2018 recruiting class.
While KU coach Bill Self has been at the top of the recruiting game for years by whatever measurement you want to use, the 15-year Kansas leader has done particularly well with five-star talent who made their decisions in the late Spring.
Here's a quick look back at eight five-star prospects who picked Kansas in April or later:
• Josh Jackson – April 11, 2016 – The five-star wing from Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., who left KU after one season to become the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft, chose KU over Michigan State and Arizona.
• Josh Selby – April 17, 2010 – The No. 1-ranked player in his class at the time, Selby picked KU during the first half of the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game in New York City.
• Xavier Henry – April 23, 2009 – After initially committing to Memphis, the five-star scoring wing who was ranked No. 8 overall in the 2009 class picked KU after then-Memphis coach John Calipari bolted for Kentucky.
• Cheick Diallo – April 28, 2015 – The No. 5-ranked player in the Class of 2015 never quite lived up to the hype after eligibility issues forced him to miss the start of his lone season as a Jayhawk. Diallo, a native of Mali, who was drafted No. 33 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft after his lone season at KU, picked KU over Kentucky, Iowa State, St. John's and Pitt.
• Darrell Arthur – May 9, 2006 – For a long time, it seemed like a certainty that the Dallas native and No. 16 overall player in the Class of 2006 was headed to Baylor. But a late change of heart, inspired by a dream about Kansas, sent the five-star prospect to KU, where he helped KU win a national title.
• Andrew Wiggins – May 14, 2013 – The top overall recruit and future No. 1 NBA Draft pick kept his decision quiet until making the announcement. Even the KU coaches did not know until Wiggins' ceremony. Picked KU over Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina.
• Svi Mykhailiuk – May 21, 2014 – Five-star prospect from far-away Ukraine, picked KU as a 16-year-old instead of turning pro in his home country.