Romeo Langford’s Week at the McDonald’s Game in Atlanta: What We Learned

Indiana University men’s basketball recruiting target Romeo Langford spent the week in Atlanta participating in the McDonald’s All-American Game and related activities.  After several different interviews and other media events, we heard more from the New Albany, Indiana guard in the last few days than we have heard in months.

Whether or not we actually learned anything is another question.  Langford fielded every question imaginable regarding his final three recruiting choices (Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt), and there never really seemed to be a “tell” when he was talking about his options.

Some have suggested via social media and other reports that they believe they noticed Langford’s mannerisms or voice change when he was talking about a particular team or coach.  Perhaps they’ve hired a body language expert to reach that conclusion.

Beyond just being over the top, it seems like an absurd notion based on what we saw from Langford during the week.  It’s probably just his nature, but when speaking about this stuff he is the master of restraint.  If this whole NBA thing doesn’t work out for Langford, he may just have a career in the World Series of Poker.

Photo – McDonald’s All-American Game

Below we’ve listed out our synopsis of the week.  Take a look and decide for yourself.  You can expect more of this over the next few weeks as Langford participates in The Jordan Brand Classic on April 8, and The Nike Hoop Summit on April 13.

ROMEO HAS FRIENDS AT ALL THREE SCHOOLS

Much has been made regarding Langford’s friendship with Vanderbilt commit Darius Garland, and many have speculated that this could be the deciding factor.  If anything, based on reports and soundbites from the week we get the sense that this is really a neutral factor.

Kansas five-star Quentin Grimes indicated that he was close with Langford.  It is also interesting to note in that linked video that Grimes seems to suggest that it is really coming down to Kansas and Indiana.  Take that for what it’s worth.

Romeo himself said this week the he has developed a similar relationship with Indiana signee Robert Phinisee as well.  The whole Garland relationship thing seems to be overblown, perhaps because they’ve been seen together at both Indiana and Vanderbilt, and played together overseas.

Photo – McDonald’s All-American Game

LOUISVILLE IS DEFINITELY OUT

At one point it was believed that Langford was strongly leaning towards a commitment with Louisville, with the speculation being that he might have grown up a Louisville fan.  This would be reasonable to believe since Louisville is literally across the Ohio River from New Albany.

Then the Rick Pitino dismissal occurred and Louisville was dropped from the list.  Just this week it was announced that former Xavier head coach Chris Mack was hired at Louisville.  It was reported that Mack had reached out to Langford to take his temperature on revisiting things with the Cardinals.

Both Langford and his father were asked about whether Louisville might be back in contention, and both were clear that he was sticking with his already established three choices.  Louisville is out of the mix.

ABOUT THAT UPCOMING INDIANA VISIT

It has been out for several weeks that Langford intends to take another visit to Indiana in April.  We learned something new on that front this week.  Langford indicated that the IU coaching staff wanted him to make one more trip to Bloomington so they could have “the last word” with him.

Photo – McDonald’s All-American Game

We had assumed, perhaps erroneously, that the visit was at the request of Langford, to have a second chance to meet the staff and check out the facilities.  With the knowledge that this visit is being made at the request of the IU staff, we are less convinced that this is a helpful factor for Indiana.  Moreover, Langford also suggested this week that another trip to Vanderbilt is a distinct possibility.

AN APPRECIATION FOR INDIANA BASKETBALL

We don’t suspect that this has any real significance in terms of the recruiting process, but Langford had an interesting statement on Indiana high school basketball.  It is really just one more reason to admire the young man.  Not too many 18 year olds have an appreciation for where they come from, and it gives you the sense that he has actually enjoyed the hysteria that has followed him around the state.

For those of you that don’t know about Indiana high school basketball, it’s crazy. The basketball is great, and every night is a big night in Indiana with high school basketball. Everybody lives up for it. There’s no other place like Indiana, because the fans pack the gyms everywhere. There are no small gyms. There are never games not packed. They’re always packed, and they’re always big games. It gets you pretty ready for college games, where the atmospheres are even crazier.

I’m the only boy here from Indiana, and there’s one other girl here from the state (Heritage Christian’s Kaitlyn Gilbert). Some people think Indiana is not a great basketball state, but that’s just not true. There’s tons of good players all across the state, it’s a really area for hoop.

ROMEO JUST MIGHT STILL BE TRULY UNDECIDED

It is difficult to watch all of the interviews from this week and believe that Langford has already made up his mind.  Plus, why put yourself through all of this questioning and put on an act if you already know?  But it is also difficult to believe that it would take him this long to decide.

Could it be the case that Louisville was his top choice all along, and when that fell apart, the decision became much more difficult?  If the girl you had your heart set on for the prom falls through, you generally aren’t as enthusiastic or sure about the rest of the field.

Photo – McDonald’s All-American Game

THE CONCLUSION

It goes without saying at this point that no one outside of the inner circle knows what Langford is going to announce in late April.  Maybe not even Romeo.  We playfully predicted Indiana last weekend, but would now have to admit that this week’s events have us feeling less confident.  The primary factor that led us to predict that he would go to IU was the idea that the announcement of his decision would be somewhere out in the public at a New Albany community event.

That might be the one thing to watch for over the next few weeks.  If it turns out that the announcement is being held somewhere mostly out of the public eye, then that could be the first indicator that it just may not be the Hoosiers.

One thing is for sure.  We’ve said it before and we will continue to say it all the way up to and after the announcement.  Whatever he decides, we all owe him the same decency and respect that he’s shown us representing our state and interacting with the fans.

ROMEO AT THE MCDONALD’S ALL AMERICAN GAME

With all of the attention surrounding his recruitment, it would be easy to forget that Langford actually played in a basketball game on Wednesday night.  Unlike his college choice, Langford left no doubt on the court.  He was the East team’s second-leading scorer with 19 points, and he also grabbed 6 rebounds.

You can watch his highlight reel from the game here, along with an in-game interview futher below:

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Main photo credit – McDonald’s All-American Game

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