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What's next if KU doesn't land Romeo Langford?

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Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Those of you who following Kansas basketball recruiting closely, and probably even a decent chunk of those of you who don't, surely know that today is unofficially known as Romeo Langford Day.

Today is the day the top remaining unsigned player in the Class of 2018 makes official his choice between finalists Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt, and, even the most die-hard KU fans who wear nothing but crimson-and-blue-colored glasses have to admit that it sure looks like this one is headed to Indiana.

The 6-foot-5 guard ranked No. 5 overall in the class is from New Albany, Ind. He recently was named Indiana's Mr. Basketball. And he — or at least his crew — has opened up his announcement to the public, with rumors of an invitation to the governor of Indiana swirling, as well.

While all of those signs point to one of the bright young stars in the Hoosier State becoming the next Hoosier, one that might be even stronger than those surfaced Monday.

Bright and early Monday morning, ESPN's Jeff Goodman sent out a Tweet that said Albany guard Joe Cremo, a graduate transfer who stands 6 feet, 4 inches tall, had told ESPN that he would visit Villanova on Wednesday and KU over the weekend.

None by Jeff Goodman

Now, it's entirely possible that Cremo's interest in visiting Kansas is completely unrelated to Langford's decision. But it sure makes a lot more sense to look at it this way: Romeo's headed to Indiana, KU knows it and the Jayhawks are making moves to fill the one available scholarship they have remaining with someone who could take some of those minutes they were hoping to give to Romeo.

Although Cremo (pronounced Cream-Oh) is no Romeo, he could be exactly what the Jayhawks are looking for.

As a junior during the 2017-18 season, Cremo started all 32 games for Albany and played 35.2 minutes per outing. He averaged 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range (76-of-166).

As a sophomore, he shot 37.6 percent from downtown while starting all 35 Albany games. And during his freshman season, in 2015-16, played in all 33 Albany games, with zero starts, while averaging 20.7 minutes per game and shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point range.

Convincing the 6-4 gunner to come to Kansas — provided Langford does not — certainly will not be automatic. Cremo hails from Scotia, N.Y., which sits just four hours north of the Villanova campus, a tad bit closer than the 19-hour trek to Kansas.

Beyond that, Villanova and head coach Jay Wright are sort of the darlings of college basketball right now. Wright has that program humming as well as any program in the country, has for a handful of years now, and also is bringing in one of the best recruiting classes he's ever signed at Villanova.

It's not hard to envision Cremo squinting his eyes and envisioning himself playing the role of Ryan Arcidiacono or Donte DiVincenzo, who both starred as fearless, gunner-type guards on Villanova national title teams.

The biggest thing KU would have to sell Cremo would be playing time and an opportunity.

With the Jayhawks losing all four guards from their starting lineup in 2017-18, there not only exists an opportunity to pick up guard minutes, but also — and more importantly — a need for someone to shoot the ball from the outside.

Five-star feshmen Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes will both get a lot of minutes — both are starters if you ask me — and back-up point guard Charlie Moore also should be a valuable fixture in the rotation given his skills and experience.

Add to that the return of sophomore-to-be Marcus Garrett and the Jayhawks have a pretty strong, albeit different, set of guards in their 2018-19 rotation. The one thing that quartet is missing however is someone who can burn the nets. Cremo can do that. And the fact that he would bring valuable experience and maturity to a pretty young team would merely be icing on the cake.

It's kind of a win-win-win for all three parties involved with Cremo at this point. If he ends up picking between KU and Villanova, he pretty much can't go wrong. And if that does in fact happen, whichever program lands him would be getting a quality piece to add to its already dangerous roster.

There is, of course, also the possibility that Cremo elects to go elsewhere. After all, as of April 2, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports reported that 15 different college programs — Arizona, Cincinnati, Creighton, Louisville, Marquette, Ohio State, Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, UConn, West Virginia and Wichita State — already had reached out to the 21-year-old Cremo about joining their roster. In the weeks since then, at least another dozen programs also have shown interest.

First things first, though. KU has to hear, for sure, what Langford is doing. If the answer is suiting up in red-and-white candy-striped IU pants next season, the pursuit of Cremo will begin. And if the Jayhawks don't land Cremo, be it because he picks another program or they move on, Bill Self and his staff no doubt have other players on their radar to fill that final scholarship.

Comments

Bill Corrigan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone care to speculate why this decision came down to the last possible minute? Was it just to garner as much publicity as possible before making an announcement? If indeed Romeo will finally end up at Indiana as most recruiting analysts predict, why the delay when the family has said "Kansas and Vanderbilt are too far away to make another (unofficial) visit" as he has already done by revisiting IU, and have indicated they want to be able to watch him play next season without the necessity of driving 3-4 hours. Seems like KU would offer the most in-season media exposure for an OAD, with the bonus of a Final Four run, that likely would not be available at either Indiana or Vandy. But again, should this school selection have been that difficult and time-consuming?

Danny Hernandez 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Please keep Cremo on the east coast ,he's a gunner and not very athletic

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I disagree completely. A deadly spot up three point shooter would be a perfect addition to a team that will have the best front court in America next year and athletic guards that can drive but aren't necessarily great three point shooters.

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 2 weeks ago

So you would rather not add a legit 6'4" shooter with a quick release and NBA range who has proven able to shoot from all of the spots and out of all of the motions that we run? Who has three years of D1 experience, and was at his best in games against high major programs... oh and who also lead his team in assists?

I guarantee you that Bill Self looks at this guy's tape and sees his numbers and can think of a million reasons to add him to his roster.

If he comes to KU he immediately changes the way our opponents game plan for us when he checks into game. He likely will be a key part of a 5 member guard rotation if he ends up at KU and probably plays between 15 and 20 minutes a game providing instant offense off of the bench and a calming influence to an inexperienced lineup.

I'm not saying that I'd rather have Cremo than Romeo, but I think that Bill Self will be very very happy to add either one of those players.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 2 weeks ago

You asked that question in such a way that is pretty hard to say no without appearing as if your EEG just went flat.

I was definitely all in on adding Langford if that happened but I'm still not completely sold that we need to add any more to our backcourt.

Quentin Grimes

KJ Lawson

Charlie Moore

Devon Dotson

Marcus Garrett

Sam Cunliffe.

I'm not saying that signing Cremo is a mistake but being in for Langford doesn't translate to being in for Cremo...imo. I think Cremo will go somewhere where he can get onto the court. Developing Cremo will not be at the top of Bill Self's to do list next year.

I can see us being one injury away to having another year with a thin frontcourt. I don't see any way that Silvio will ever play again at Kansas and that leaves Udoka, Lawson, McCormick, and Lightfoot. There are several big's available including a player from Illinois...just picking that scab.

I would rather not be rushed into a decision but I realize that it's open season on graduate transfers.

Kit Duncan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

As a full year starter, Cremo's numbers compared favorably to Malik Newman's. He's not just a gunner. The kid can dribble drive. He makes steals, rebounds, assists AND shoots 81.9 % free throws (was better than 85% his freshman and sophomore seasons). Cremo would be a good addition to Kansas' bench.

Craig Carson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

if and WHEN KU losses out of Langford, they will still win at least 25 games, be ranked in the top 15, win the BIG 12 and have a top 3 seed in the NCAA..IU will have him for a season, they might be competitive, he will put butts in seats and give them hype....then he will declare for the NBA

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I guess I'm even more of an optimist for the next season. We unquestioningly lost a huge amount of experience from last year's team but we're bringing in better talent overall. I think 30+ wins and a top seed in next year's NCAA.

Of course, this is nothing more than a futile exercise in conjecture but that's why I come here sometimes.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

We aren't getting Romeo. No chance. I'm curious what "other players on their radar to fill that final scholarship" exist? Any lists anywhere?

Steve Corder 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Quick release, although his shot starts lower than what I would describe as the "classic jump shot". His shot reminds me a little like Trae Young.

I see why KU is interested.

Kit Duncan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree his release looks low, but I think that is because he is able to get wide open looks at the basket. Amazingly he appears to raise his shot higher up when guarded well. With his fundamentals, Cremo can adjust his stroke mid-shot and still be deadly accurate from well beyond NBA range.

Harlan Hobbs 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm with Mr. Corrigan on this one. Can't understand why Langford is waiting to the last minute to pick Indiana, which likely will be his choice given all of the hype and theater. Can you imagine him picking KU or Vandy in a big media production from his home town?

The recruiting class that Coach Self has already amassed is great. The key to next year in my opinion is having Udoka return to give us at least one returning starter.

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 2 weeks ago

1.) No way Langford picks Kansas. But good for Archie and Indiana. The Hoosiers need to get back on track and maybe Langford will help.

2.) Cremo certainly isn't a guarantee but man he'd be a nice consolation price.

3.) If the reports about De Sousa being the player who's guardians received money then I can't imagine him playing college anymore. So I'm assuming there are at least two spots open for Self to fill. And that's if Doke comes back, which I'd fully expect him to.

Allin Herring 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Too bad we missed out on Langford. Great kid with outstanding talent. May have been the best player on our roster if he had come here. News here in Indy tonight stated he changed his mind from one team over another over the past month or so. I wonder if the team was KU and our trouble with the FBI? I hope we come out with some good story for new recruits.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

When I heard Romeo went to IU, my next thought was "What rabbit will Coach Self be pulling out of his hat this time?" Last year was probably the first miss on a late season addition when what's his name flaked in the middle of the summer.

Cremo reminds me of the kid at Michigan, Robinson?, that started out in the UP. Or is he a slightly shorter Svi? Either way, he would be a great addition, which shows why so many schools are recruiting him now.

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 2 weeks ago

he won't be quite as versatile as Svi or Vick with their ability to guard 4 positions and play the high post. But he has the look of a guy who can compete with most any guard in the big 12. He does look a little bit like Svi when he comes off of a screen collects the pass, squares his feet and drills a three.

Joe Baker 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Understandably the IU fan base is stoked over a very short time for a highly recruited player. Sadly, I don't see Miller creating chemistry in a very short time. We all know how much time it takes to create chemistry to bring players together. Ask Lon Kruger and if he's honest, Trae Young hurt OU. Young was a good player on a mediocre team. They too were HIGHLY touted as "winning the B12" as IU is now looking to winning the B10. The other players want to be relevant too. Miller's game plan will be exactly like Kruger's...The O will revolve around RL. Miller will use and abuse RL at the expense of the team. Miller will unleash RL and the team will not respond. Romeo's very short season ends in relative disappointment and Miller will go back to being an average D1 bball coach.

Lastly, I read some of the snarky and cocky comments from the IU fanbase, who are fickle. The line for RL's announcement was obviously long, and one IU fan said, "...there's nothing here for any KU or Vandy fans. You can go to Floyd Central." Very well, KU will let their talking show on the court. PLEASE, give us IU...I now want IU. IU v. KU or KU v. IU, I don't care...I want IU now they have one of the best recruits in the country. Let's let our top recruits play it out. I give KU the game due to their experience. KU will mop IU off the court.

Archie Miller, IU, and the fans got what they asked for. Let's see if Archie can coach them up in the B10. It's one thing to have the talent, but can you coach up the talent as a team? We shall see...

Joe Ross 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"...shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range (76-of-166)."

Damn.

Sign him.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I heard rumors about Indiana's governor being invited but haven't found anything remotely definitive. I'm hoping it's untrue as this event would have been nothing more than a dog and pony show. I'm guessing you don't invite the governor to pick Kansas.

From what I've seen from this kid makes me believe that these rumors are just that and nothing more. I didn't see the decision as I thought we had about 0% chance but it would've been a nice surprise.

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