Langford announces he’s staying in NBA Draft

Romeo Langford made it official on Monday.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

The former Hoosier is leaving Indiana after one season in Bloomington, banking on his potential as a lottery selection in next month’s draft.

“I believe now is the time for me to begin the next chapter of my life and keep my name in the 2019 NBA Draft,” Langford wrote in a message to fans posted on his Twitter account. “Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine and I’m excited for the opportunity to fulfill that dream.”

This always felt like the natural chain of events for Langford, who announced his commitment to Indiana last April merely one day after earning the state’s coveted Mr. Basketball honor. The New Albany native was never expected to stay long at IU, and while his skill set is far from polished — he was only a 27 percent 3-point shooter for the Hoosiers — Langford confirmed Monday that he’s all-in on continuing his development at the NBA level.

ESPN considers Langford the 14th best prospect in this year’s pool, and projects him as the No. 15 overall pick to the Detroit Pistons in its latest mock draft. He is Indiana’s first one-and-done player since Noah Vonleh entered the draft after the 2013-14 season.

Last month, Langford told ESPN that he injured his thumb prior to IU’s Nov. 27 ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup at Duke, which could explain some of his struggles from long-range. Although his shooting ability was a season-long weakness, Langford turned in an otherwise productive campaign for the Hoosiers. He finished the season as both Indiana’s leading scorer and the top freshman scorer in the Big Ten, averaging 16.5 points per contest.

His freshman scoring average ranks fifth in IU history behind only Eric Gordon (20.9 ppg), Mike Woodson (18.5 ppg), Don Schlundt (17.1 ppg) and Calbert Cheaney (17.1 ppg). Langford’s 528 total points scored are the third-most by an Indiana freshman, trailing Gordon’s 669 points in 2008 and Cody Zeller’s 563 points in 2012.

“From the moment I stepped on campus, Indiana University has been a special place for me,” Langford said. “Everyone, from the students, the university, the staff and coaches, have made my experience one I will never forget. Though the season didn’t end the way we wanted, I am forever proud of all the hard work my teammates and I put in every single day.

“I would like to thank each and every fan that stood behind us through the ups and downs this year. I will always be a proud member of Hoosier Nation!”

The deadline for college players to withdraw from this year’s NBA Draft and retain their NCAA eligibility is 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Indiana’s Devonte Green, Justin Smith and Al Durham joined Langford in declaring for this year’s draft, though all three are expected to return to school.

16 comments

  1. Not unexpected, from the beginning everyone figured Romeo to be a one and done. Just glad we got to see him for the year. Wished the injuries hadn’t marred this past season the way they did. I still believe if everyone stays healthy this next year, a lot of tears are going to be shed thinking about what could have been this last year. If Jerome and Rob had been healthy all year and able to shoot from outside to bust up the paint packing defenses we saw, imagine what Juwan and Romeo could have done with space inside to play. If everybody had stayed healthy all year it hard to tell how deep a run could have been made.

  2. If…nonsense…not reality (meaningless).
    Top prospect forgoes college and decides to play professionally in New Zealand…now there is a thinker.

    1. Not so fast t,
      The foreign option has always been there, but it was also a ticket to anonymity for the marginal players. When I say marginal, I mean those who might have nba potential but not a certainty. Of course they wanted to stay in country for a year and get the attention. Who’s watching professional basketball in New Zealand?

  3. While I appreciate what appears to be Romeo’s sincere sentiments directed toward the Hoosier Nation, I’m wondering why this is news? I guess this makes it official, but it was a formality, and everyone in the Hoosier Nation knew this weeks ago. Did anyone who follows IU BB hold out hope that he would return to IU for another season?

  4. Romeo should be thanked by every IU basketball fan for playing hurt for the biggest part of last season.
    Kids at other schools in the same circumstances have simply sat out the year and watched their spot in the draft go up, while Romeo watched it go down because he gutted it out.
    Greg Doyel even admitted as much in his latest Indy Star article.
    Thank you Romeo!

    1. Totally agree.

      Really nice kid has been criticized for doing his best while playing with a broken finger.

      He wasn’t here long, the team didn’t thrive, and there were few magical moments.

      I honestly feel bad for him. I can’t get in his head but, by all appearances, he only tried to do the right thing in the right way.

      It is not his fault the team had a ton of flaws.

      1. Chet,
        Would it be better said a ton of misfortune? I don’t consider the massive amount of health issues the team endured to be flaws.

  5. And perhaps the greatest misfortune was not having Hunter available last season. Given what I’ve read about Hunter’s shooting ability, that could have made the difference between going to the tourney or producing another mediocre season, and it could have changed the way defenses keyed on Romeo.

    He’s a good kid and I wish him all the best.

    1. Po,
      Still think if Hunter was as advertised in the tourney, everyone stays healthy last year, Sweet 16.

      1. College basketball.

        A billion dollar, high profile industry where success and failure often depends on the condition of a growth plate on a rapidly growing teenager.

        It goes a long way in demonstrating why the rich get richer and the poor suffer disproportionately from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

        Helluva way to make a living.

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