In case you somehow missed it, Indiana University recruiting target Romeo Langford set the date to announce his college decision between Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt. The announcement will be made on Monday, April 30th, at the New Albany High School gym, and it will be open to the public.
At least for those of us that discuss these things, the announcement (or should we say “The Announcment”) is beginning to take on a larger than life feeling. Think The Beatles in 1964 or Michael Jackson in 1988 in Indianapolis. Ok, ok, it isn’t anywhere near that big, but it is going to be a nationally covered event with the general public likely lining up in the morning for a 7PM announcement. We suppose that since his college “tour” will likely only last months, there is some merit in trying to catch a glimpse of this once in a generation player.
While it remains the case that no one knows what the humble hero will announce in two weeks, opinions are changing. Today we take a look at what those that cover recruiting for a living, along with the Kansas and Vanderbilt media are saying since the announcement date was set.
WHAT THE “EXPERTS” ARE SAYING
A few weeks ago we had some fun with the self-proclaimed recruiting experts, with their “crystal balls” and flexible accuracy ratings. You have to ask yourself, wouldn’t a true expert have seen what the little ole’ Daily Hoosier saw a few weeks ago?
In that piece we suggested that the primary factor that seems to suggest that Langford is Indiana bound is the fact that the announcement was apparently going to be made in front of the general public in New Albany. Not much has really changed since then. But now that we have a specific date, location and confirmation of the audience, suddenly the haze in that crystal ball has dissipated.
Look, we don’t have a problem with the concept of predicting which college a high school kid is going to attend. Since we all seem to disproportionately care about it, it’s smart business. No, our beef is with the “expert” label, and the idea that they have insider knowledge, when in virtually every case, they don’t.
Nothing has illustrated that better than this whole Romeo Langford saga. Forgive us, as we may have lost count, but at various points the experts have had Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Indiana as the front-runner. And here we go again. Since Langford set his announcement date there has been a strong shift towards Indiana. When we wrote our prediction piece it was a 42%-42% dead heat between Indiana and Vanderbilt with Kansas bringing up the rear.
Now the tide has turned and Indiana has leaped out to a 71%-14%-14% lead. We won’t say we told you so. Ok, maybe we already did, but hopefully by now you can see that this “expert” racket is nothing more than entertainment. Take it for what it’s worth.
WHAT THE KANSAS AND VANDERBILT MEDIA IS SAYING
Now let’s take a look at how some of the folks covering the Vanderbilt and Kansas programs are reacting to the announcement date news. We have to warn you, some of this comes across more like a temper tantrum rather than insightful analysis.
KANSAS MEDIA TAKE — FBI PROBE EDITION
As you may have heard this week, multiple Kansas players have been tied to the FBI’s case on corruption in college basketball recruiting. Langford was asked about it during the past week and the Kansas City Star had this quote:
“They’re still in my top three,” Langford said of the Jayhawks as quoted by USA Today. “It (FBI case) doesn’t hurt them. It doesn’t make them any better — well, I don’t know why it would make them better — but it doesn’t hurt them at all.”
Now if you’ve been following this recruitment, you know that statement doesn’t really say much. Langford has mastered the art of not saying much in his statements. He may be genuinely saying it doesn’t hurt Kansas in the decision, or he may have already decided on one of the other two schools.
KANSAS MEDIA TAKE – UNPHASED EDITION
At least one person covering Kansas was unphased by the Langford announcement location and the looming FBI investigation. Chris Taylor, at “KC Kingdom” had this to say:
If he wants to be the man, then Kansas probably isn’t right for him. He can be the man at a severely less talented program like Indiana if that’s the case. My issue with this is logic.
Playing alongside competition like Grimes, who happens to be a good friend of his, can only make him better. He will have to continue to work for his playing time. If Langford does choose the Kansas Jayhawks, he can still be the man. Frank Mason and Devonte Graham were both the man in Lawrence.
Should we tell him that Mason and Graham were each 4 year guys, perhaps because they overshadowed each other? Should we remind him that severely less talented Indiana beat Kansas last year? Or that Villanova was less talented too? Ouch. Too soon?
VANDERBILT MEDIA TAKE – THE RIDICULOUS
In what can only be characterized as a sad last-gasp effort to salvage a sinking ship, Anchor of Gold actually suggested that Langford should legitimately be concerned for his safety if he chooses other than Indiana. Pun intended on that sinking ship/Anchor of Gold thing.
Still, though, I fear for Langford’s safety if he doesn’t choose Indiana in that ceremony, when a Taco Bell in Sellersburg, Indiana, chose to display a sign reading “Romeo Langford Live Mas Choose IU.” When Kentucky fans warn you about a fan base being insane, you should probably believe them.
All this laughable analysis really tells you is that Vanderbilt isn’t worthy of Romeo Langford. They don’t understand the passion that the state of Indiana has for the game of basketball. On the other hand, if Langford wants to go hide for a year before entering the NBA, then Vanderbilt just might be the place. He will be nice and safe, with almost no one even knowing he is there.
VANDERBILT MEDIA TAKE – THE RATIONAL VIEW
Adam Sparks at the Tennessean highlights something that all three schools are dealing with — how waiting on this Romeo decision is impacting Vanderbilt’s attempts to fill out their 2018 roster.
But the NCAA late signing period has already begun, meaning other prospects are looking for homes. And those players aren’t necessarily making their decision on Langford’s clock.
We’ve brought you similar analysis from the Indiana perspective, as the Hoosiers have been active in the 2018 graduate transfer and other alternative markets. But as the Tennessean piece suggests, we will all gladly wait.
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Photo: Matt Stone, Courier Journal