Sunday, April 8, 2018

Future Jayhawk Quentin Grimes shines, teams with Romeo Langford to lead Home team to victory at Jordan Brand Classic

Kansas commit Quentin Grimes (4) in action during the Jordan Brand Classic high school basketball game, Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Grimes' team won the game.

Kansas commit Quentin Grimes (4) in action during the Jordan Brand Classic high school basketball game, Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Grimes' team won the game.


Out with an injury, but still a main attraction nonetheless, Duke-bound forward Zion Williamson wasted no time explaining to ESPN2 sideline reporter Brooke Weisbrod what stood out to him this week at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn.

“Romeo Langford's ability to score like it's just nothing,” said Williamson, among other things, from the bench during the JBC Home team's 146-136 victory over the JBC Away squad on Sunday night at Barclays Center.


Gregory Payan/AP Photo

Romeo Langford (9) in action during the Jordan Brand Classic high school basketball game, Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

On a night when LSU signee Emmitt Williams shattered LeBron James' Jordan Brand record with 44 points on 22-of-23 shooting, the status of the uncommitted Langford, from New Albany, Ind., was a featured part of the ESPN broadcast.

“Indiana has gone crazy for him,” play-by-play voice Kevin Brown explaining Langford's decision between IU, Kansas and Vanderbilt, which is expected to come before the end of the month. “Folks there have compared it to (former Hoosiers point guard) Damon Bailey-type fever for Romeo Langford. Vanderbilt's been in the running for a long time. And I know that people have seen Indiana and Vanderbilt as 1-2 for a while, but let's not forget there's a guy on the bench right now, Mr. Williamson, (who) people thought Clemson and South Carolina are 1-2 and then a pretty good program came in late (and got him), so I wouldn't discount Kansas just yet for Langford.”

Color analyst Courtney Alexander jumped all over that thought, paying respect to the KU program and predicting that it will be more about Langford's role than the school's pedigree that ultimately leads him to a final decision.

“You definitely don't discount Kansas, especially the program Bill Self has built, one of the top programs in the country,” Alexander said. “Does that become a scenario where Romeo Langford gets the opportunity to come in and play the way he wants to play. Is that the right fit? And I think that's going to be the biggest concern for Langford — which one of those three schools allows him to have the most success possible in a freshman season which could possibly be his only year.”

Limited to just 16 minutes because of a elbow to the eye that sent him to the bench for good early in the second half of Sunday's showcase, Langford finished with 14 points and five rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting and did not get the opportunity to show why he is the top-remaining unsigned player in the 2018 class, ranking fifth overall on the 247 Sports list and No. 6 overall by

That fact opened the door for a player Kansas fans know they will be getting to turn in a whale of a game, as combo guard Quentin Grimes exploded for 15 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals in his 25 minutes on the floor.

Grimes and Langford both played for the Home team on Sunday and, in their brief time together on the floor, showed an ability to easily play next to each other.

On Langford's final play before exiting, Grimes ran point, brought the ball up the left side — seemingly knowing where Langford was running at all times — and calmly waited for Langford to sprint past him on the wing so he could scoop a perfect touch pass to Langford for the rhythm 3-pointer.

That was just one way in which Grimes, who has said he is recruiting Langford on KU's behalf, impacted Sunday's game. The rest came through his all-around game and versatility, as he flashed his long-range game, precision passing and abiliity to get to the basket and finish — not to mention solid defense — that helped the Home team come away with the victory.

“Let me say this about Quentin Grimes,” said ESPN 100 national director for recruiting, Paul Biancardi, late in the broadcast. “He will be one of the best guards in the Big 12 next year. Scoring, defense, passing, size at 6-4. … That's a guy the NBA loves.”

After the game, Grimes, who signed with KU in November, told Kels Dayton, of, that the display he put on during Sunday's All-Star game was what he hoped to bring to Kansas for the 2018-19 season.

“Coach Self really lets his guards have a lot of freedom out there on the court,” Grimes told Dayton. “Can play pick and roll, a lot of isolations, can shoot the ball in mid-range, pull-up 3s, I think I can play on the ball, off the ball. I think (I can) be a dynamic play-maker out there and I'll fit in really well next year.”

The only question that remains now is whether Langford will be in a KU uniform doing it with him the way he was in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

Those two will join future Jayhawk David McCormack and the rest of the top players in the 2018 class at the USA Basketball Nike Hoop Summit in Portland next weekend. After that, all eyes will be on Langford and a decision that could come any day.


Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

Let's not go too far with that analogy. It doesn't end well.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 7 months ago

Can't wait to see Quentin in blue uniforms next season. Hope the same for Romeo!

Dave Miller 4 years, 7 months ago

Come to Kansas, Romeo Langford !! Come to Kansas and help win some titles. Big12 regular season, Big12 tournament, Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four, and a National Championship !! Come to Kansas...

Mike Kendall 4 years, 7 months ago

Romeo is unbelievable! He is like a Wiggins. KU will certainly be expected to win it all, if Langford signs with KU. Crossing my fingers. Rock Chalk!

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like he might be more aggressive than Wiggins. At least I hope so.

Russ McCaig 4 years, 7 months ago

Loved Wiggins...however, I always thought he was playing a little restrained, trying "not to get hurt"...when I watched him in the NBA, I seen him make moves to the hoop that we never seen at KU...

Robert Brock 4 years, 7 months ago

If excellence in these nearly unwatchable high school all-star games was a prelude to college performance, Cheick Diallo would have been one of the greatest players of all time.

Joe Ross 4 years, 7 months ago

What Langford gets if he comes to Kansas (versus Indiana and Vanderbilt):

  1. More juiced crowds to play in front of. "16, 300".
  2. More nationwide television exposure
  3. A Hall of Fame coach to play for
  4. A brotherhood of basketball icons...for life
  5. Better coaching to improve his game
  6. A deeper history and appreciation of basketball from its infancy
  7. A legitimate shot at a national title.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 7 months ago

  1. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER forget Ms Hudey, Joe!

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 7 months ago

Great synopsis, Joe.

I'm with you about these all-star games, Robert. You have to suffer through two hours of "playground" basketball if you want to watch future Jayhawks. I watched a little of it, and then turned it off. It's just an up and down dunk fest, with no defense whatsoever.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 7 months ago

It will all come down to PT for Langford . If HCBS tells him he has to work for a starting spot, then he's out. He will start every game and get the star treatment (a la Trae Young) at IU or Vandy if we don't promise him that opportunity.

Langford will play one season and wants the most PT and time to showcase for the NBA. If HCBS can't say he'll start regardless, he'll pick IU or Vandy. It's all on how Self wants to approach it , IMO

Joe Ross 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm inclined to agree with you. However, no matter what situation Langford goes to, he's going to have to learn to play within an offensive philosophy. That means fitting his game into an overall team concept. That adjustment is there whether he goes to Kansas, Vandy, or Indiana. I think you also have to look at the kind of kid we're dealing with. This is a kid who stays and signs autographs after high school games, and so I DO think he shows a humility and appreciation that speaks well of the kind of kid he is. The thing is, Bill Self has more experience with getting OAD talent to fit in with the team philosophy, so that's actually something Kansas can tout: "We know how to help you find your game within the overall team."

But again, I agree with you that every player must confront the reality that they can't win alone. I just don't think Langford will have much trouble in working to beat out Garrett or Lawson or Cunliffe.

[''] 4 years, 7 months ago

If he goes to Indy he will get paid well as part of the Miller brothers pay for play program.... I'm sure Sean is teaching lil bro Archie well. Ayton got $100K - maybe he will get more....

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't think that I'd venture to say that it comes down to who guarantees him a starting role, the most minutes, and the most freedom.

I think that anyone who knows coach Self knows that the guarantee with coach Self seems to be that you will receive excellent coaching and you will be on a team that is highly ranked, receives huge national TV exposure and plays in tons of meaningful games during the regular season and post-season.

I think that when Coach Self recruits kids like Romeo he tells them all about how he would like to use them and how well he thinks that they would perform doing the things that he would want them to do at KU. He can easily point to players like Wiggins and Jackson who had tons of freedom at KU to play how they wanted to play because of their incredible talents and because of the way that they played with aggression both offensively and defensively.

Any player who is rated as highly as Langford likely has the mindset that they are better and more athletic than their competition. Self will use that mindset to convince them that if they work hard and play the way that they are capable of playing that they will be a star in his program.

In my opinion that method of delivery fuels the competitive spirit of these guys much better than telling a kid that if you come to Indiana you will start from day 1 and that we'll run the offense through you on every possession, and you'll have the freedom to play whatever pace you want and take whatever shots you want.

But of course, I was never an All-American.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree with you that Coach Self is not going to be held to any guarantees that other coaches will do and in this case, I don't really blame Indiana if they, in fact, made a guarantee. Indiana has long been considered a blue blood program with a deep history and a long period of relevance – until now.

If Langford comes to Kansas, he will certainly get a chance to showcase his abilities. KU is one of the most televised teams in the country, Self has proven that he can take a kid and get him into the NBA IF they have the ability to back up the hype.

Going to Kansas is not the easiest path for him if he is only interested in getting to the NBA. I hope Langford proves how good he is on one of next year's most talented teams. I hope Langford has that competitive spirit.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 7 months ago

Odds in my book - Indiana 50%, Vanderbilt 35%, Kansas 15%.....I will be shocked but thrilled if Romeo picks KU. I can name two dozen reasons why KU is the superior choice, but it doesn't matter what I think.

KU is the furthest from his home, it is not his home state, PT will not be guaranteed unlike the other two choices, comparative talent is already on the roster, you better be more than a shooter as in play a hard D.......admittedly, these arguments seem weak compared to the advantages KU provides but this an eighteen year old kid.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 7 months ago

I do think the national exposure he would get at KU for every game would be big, but maybe the thats not so big to scouts as they can see whatever they want anyway. I still think Trae Young may have been inside the top 5 lotto's if he went to KU and that hype train he was on took him into the final four and maybe a NC. So again, hopefully that sort of thing appeals to Romeo. I get it that he could go to one of the other schools and get "the keys to the program" as Lon Kruger told Trae.

Chad Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Indiana still has a name brand draw and as far as team success, he could elevate hoosiers to a top 3 big 10 team and make them nationally relevant again. They have enough of a supporting cast to jump up a bit. Vanderbilt, i think that is the trae young scenario, he will be the man leading a truly mediocre team. KU, without any veteran leadership, he could lead and blend in, and face stiff competition in another loaded big 12, but with a core group of really talented players. I think its weird to think KU would be in last place. We still have a need at that spot and he would get playing time right away. Intrigued to see what happens.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 7 months ago

Ultimately, it is going to be hard to pry Langford from essentially his home town. The amount of pressure that he is under is probably unbelievable.

Of course, not being able to play in front of family a lot didn't hamper Andrew Wiggins or Josh Jackson from picking KU. In the end, it likely comes down to which program the player believes can best prepare him for the next level.

With or without Langford, KU will have depth at every position next year, albeit the level of experience will be less with no seniors. By tournament time, they should be working on all cylinders, though.

Shaping up to be another remarkable and successful year.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm wondering which direction next years offense will be headed. Do we go back to Coach Self's high low or do we go with the more guard-oriented of late.

I realize that Coach Self was pretty much forced to go with 4 guards most of the last 2 seasons but making it to the Final Four showed the potential of playing with 4 players who all have the ability to make threes and drive to the hoop.

I think we will be playing with 2 bigs but with at least one big who can knock it down deep and play a more upbeat version the in the past.

Even without Langford, this has to be one of Self's top 3 or 4 teams in terms of talent. There will be a lot of pressure on next year's team but at least they have a proven coach to direct them.

Tom Jones 4 years, 7 months ago

Definitely more high low than this year, anyway. Front court stacked and no proven shooters now that Vick and Newman are leaving.

Lot more dribble penetration than this year, too, though.

Alan Dickey 4 years, 7 months ago

I hope Self can pull it off this year, and it certainly possible, but Newman’s departure took some of the air out of my balloon. The three times Self has taken KU to the Final Four, he had five starters who, in large part, had been playing and practicing at KU under Self for a long time.

In 2018, the KU starting five who went to the Final Four averaged 3.0 years each playing under Bill Self. Two of them had played and/or practiced together under Self for 4 years, three of them for 3 years, and all of them for 2 years.

In 2012, the KU starting five averaged 3.2 years each playing under Bill Self. With the exception of Releford’s sophomore redshirt season, all five had played together under Self for 3 years.

In 2008, the KU starting five averaged 3.2 years each playing under Bill Self. Two of them had played and/or practiced together under Self for 4 years, three of them for 3 years, and all of them for 2 years.

In March 2019, our starting five likely is going to average 0.2 years each playing under Bill Self. None of them, likely will have played together under Self for more than one season.

I hope Self can do it, but I think it is going to be very difficult for Self to put a Final Four run together with this group, despite how talented they are.

Tom Jones 4 years, 7 months ago

The Lawsons and Moore have already been here a while and know the system That will help.

Having (definitely if they land Langford and keep Dok but possibly even if not) his most talented team at KU will also help a lot.

Dan Burns 4 years, 7 months ago

Matt, two things; if you have any influence, it would be great to have the roster of these HS games including jersey number. I'd really like to focus in on our new players rather than spending the first half of the game just figuring out if they are on the court. Secondly, is there any way to get these announcers to stop telling everything they know about their favorite two or three players and start giving equal time to every playing on the court??? I swear both the Jordan and McDonald's All American games we spend on Duke's three and Zion as the best player in BB history. These guys need to do their homework on more than 5 players.

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