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