Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Will Class of 2021 5-Star Khristian Lander Stay in-State? “It’s Gotta be a Good Fit”

Whether you are his son or a school trying to recruit his son, Keith Lander’s no nonsense approach expects that you take things seriously — and get to work.

When you go to Ben Davis High School and see the top 100 players in the state of Indiana?

Time to get back to work to stay ahead of the competition.

When you consider whether his son can be the next Romeo Langford — following the path from southern Indiana to a lottery pick in the NBA Draft?

Time to get back to work.

Those were Keith Lander’s thoughts, but the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

Class of 2021 five-star point guard Khristian Lander got questions about the NBA Draft last week too.  He was having none of it, because, well, it was time to get serious…and get to work.

But before you start to think that this is the stereotypical parent pushing their child prodigy athlete, think again.

“Sometimes he gets frustrated with me when I tell him that we need to take a break,” Keith Lander said on Indiana Sports Beat with Jim Coyle.  “You just have to allow him to be a kid when there are opportunities for breaks.  You got to take the time out to be a kid and let your body heal up.”

You see, father and son had a talk.  Dad needed to know that Khristian was serious.

“If he wasn’t wanting it as much as we want it for him, we wouldn’t do it,” Keith Lander said.

“We had that discussion with him when he was younger.  It got to be where it was a lot of time, and a lot of money and a lot of travel.  We just had to sit down and understand, hey, is this something that you want to do, and if it is we need to start getting serious about it, and if that’s the case that you’re serious about it then we are behind you 100 percent, but if it’s not something that you’re really serious about, then let’s have some discussions about doing something different.”

Khristian Lander isn’t trying to do something different.  And what has resulted thus far is the top ranked point guard in the country among incoming high school juniors according to some recruiting services.

Sounds pretty serious.  And a quickly maturing Khristian is the one behind the steering wheel.

Photo – Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Playing for F.J. Reitz in Evansville, the 6-foot-3 Lander averaged 22 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals per game as a sophomore.

Lander has a long and growing list of high major scholarship offers that includes Indiana, Purdue, Kansas, Louisville, Illinois and Ohio State.

The basketball, the travel, the recruiting, the school — it could overwhelm you if don’t have the proper perspective.

“You can see that Khristian is enjoying it even though it gets to be a lot sometimes,” Keith Lander said.

But you can always fall back on your work ethic as your foundation — if you are serious that is.

And now when schools coming calling about his son, Keith Lander expects the same degree of seriousness from them.  If you want to recruit him and be taken serious — you better show a level of commitment.

“Stay relevant in Khristian’s life,” Keith Lander said.

“If you’re really serious about the kid, let’s build a relationship.  Don’t call and offer a scholarship and then you’re not really hearing from them.”

The elder Lander is looking for people that he can in many ways entrust his son’s future.

Photo: Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

“Someone where you can feel comfortable saying hey Khristian, here you go, for potentially for four years,” he said.  “Someone who is gonna have his back and someone he can be able to talk to when if ever he has trouble and not always call home to mom and dad.  Someone that is going to be genuine and have Khristian’s best interest in my mind when he goes to that institution.”

Of course Indiana fans would like for that someone to be Archie Miller, and the Lander family is certainly aware of the hope by Hoosier fans across the state that Khristian will ultimately land in Bloomington.

“That’s starting to pick up with a lot of people and a lot of fans,” Keith Lander said.

But while there is clearly a strong mutual interest, it is too early to think about naming leaders or even finalists.

For now, the family is taking a much more pragmatic approach.

“To be honest with you, it’s gotta be a good fit,” Keith Lander said.  “That’s what it’s all about.  He’s gotta want to be there for potentially two to four years.  That’s gonna involve the coaching staff, who they’re recruiting, who’s already there, what the school has to offer academically.

“Those few things just off the top of my head that we’ll have to look at moving forward, is he in a good position to go there to maybe play right away or maybe learn from somebody in front of him that can show him the ropes, or is he ready to hit the ground running.”

With all of the hard work manifesting into what appears to be an already college ready game, most observers, including his father, see Khristian hitting the ground running in two years.

“The way things are looking right now, it looks like he is going to be a guy that is ready to play right off the bat.,” Keith Lander said.  “So that’s going to be a factor in deciding what school he’s going to go to, seeing whose already on the roster, seeing what kind of moves they’re trying to make, seeing who is being recruited at the same position.

Big decisions loom, with a lot to consider along the way.

“We’ve got a lot cut out for us,” he added.

But that’s okay.  Both father and son have already shown that they know what to do when there is work to be done.

Time to get serious.

You can listen to the full interview with Keith Lander on our broadcast media partner Indiana Sports Beat here.  The interview begins at 1:17:45.

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