Langford picked 14th by Celtics, Morgan undrafted

Clad in a shiny purple suit and donning a green Boston Celtics hat, Romeo Langford strode onto the stage at the NBA Draft Thursday night.

Turning to face the audience assembled at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Langford opened up his suit jacket to reveal two more colors — cream and crimson candy stripes.

It was a fitting tribute to his roots for the former Indiana Mr. Basketball, who was an All-Big Ten performer in his lone season at Indiana University, and fulfilled a dream when he became the first Hoosier lottery pick since 2014 as the Celtics selected Langford at No. 14 overall.

“This is an exciting day for Romeo, his family, and our program,” IU coach Archie Miller said in a statement. “He is a special young man who is ready to do what it takes to further his basketball career on the professional level with a great organization like the Celtics. He is a great teammate who now has the opportunity to work every day on realizing his personal and professional goals on the biggest stage.

“When you look at his year with us, you appreciate what he accomplished as a freshman in a league that is consistently known as one where veteran players dominate night in and night out. He will be a great ambassador for IU and the state of Indiana.”

While some had suggested Langford could tumble out of the lottery, possibly to No. 20 or beyond, the New Albany native remained confident despite not working out for teams as he recovered from postseason thumb surgery.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” Langford told ESPN in an interview. “I’ve been doing it for a long time, at a young age, so there wasn’t any doubt in my head that I would be in the lottery.”

His confidence was rewarded by Boston general manager Danny Ainge, who later selected Tennessee’s Grant Williams at No. 22 and acquired Purdue’s Carsen Edwards via trade in the second round.

Langford will play for former Butler coach Brad Stevens, who praised the team’s newest roster member.

“I think Romeo’s a really versatile, good player. He’s been a good player for a long time,” Stevens said in a press conference. “He’s a guy that as far as the state of Indiana high school basketball, was as followed as anybody in the past 15 years. Had an incredible high school career, had a really good start to college career, tore some ligaments in his thumb and played through it most of the year.

“And can do a lot of things on the basketball court, has been well-coached, both in high school and college, and a guy we think has a lot of things we think translate to the NBA. Obviously a long versatile athletic wing, can play multiple positions, can handle the ball, can play in pick and roll, can do some of that stuff. We’re excited about Romeo.”

Langford, who averaged 16.5 points per game and scored 528 points (third-most at IU behind only Eric Gordon and Cody Zeller) in his only season as a Hoosier, is the 26th first-round pick all-time from Indiana, tied for most among Big Ten schools, and is the Big Ten-best 77th draft selection for IU since the format began in 1947.

Langford is also the first IU lottery pick since Vonleh went ninth to Charlotte in 2014 and is the first Hoosier selected by the Celtics in the first round since Steve Downing in 1973.

The biggest question mark surrounding the New Albany native has been his shooting. Langford shot 35 percent from 3 in high school, but just 27.2 percent in his lone college season, though the injury was likely a factor.

Stevens, for one, is not concerned.

“I think that’s something he’s going to have to continue to work on to improve,” the Celtics coach said. “If you picked an area he had to work on, (shooting) would be it. He’s a better shooter than he shot this year and as noted by both his touch, his free throws and the way he shot it in high school. The thumb I think was impactful.

“… All indications are he will (shoot better). He’s a good worker, a hard worker. He’s a hard playing guy.”

The sooner that hard work begins, the better as far as Langford is concerned.

“Really, I just can’t wait to get to work, meet the guys and hit the ground running at Summer League and at training camp,” Langford told Celtics.com. “I feel like with the group they already have, along with myself, we can do a lot of big things.”

Miller often said that Langford excelled in learning and adapting his game, something the former Hoosier hopes to apply at the next level.

“I just see myself as a sponge. I like learning new things,” Langford said. “If I’m not good at something, I like getting better at it. If a coach tells me to do something, I take it upon myself to get better at it so they don’t have to tell me again or get on me about it.

“With the team the Celtics have, there are a lot of guys that have been through some things that I can learn a lot and continue to be a sponge.”

Langford’s former Indiana teammate, Juwan Morgan, went undrafted and will now await free agent offers in hopes of landing a chance to display his talents in the NBA Summer League.

17 comments

  1. I believe the draft went about as well as could be expected for both players. Considering all the places Romeo could have landed at, Boston may be one of the better locations for him. Speculation for Juwan has been it would be better if he went undrafted. Would allow for him to look for the team with the best system to fit his abilities, rather than sit in the background as a 2nd round pick in a system not suited to his talents.

  2. Yes it is working out good for RL. Indiana boy loaded with talent, much of it already honed into skills, newly mended injury, lottery pick opportunity with the Celtics and will be coached by 1 of the best young leaders in basketball. That’s quite a beginning. I believe NBA m/m D will suit his style well.
    Morgan has signed with the Utah Jazz. Sure hope it works for the hard worker that he is.

  3. I always said that Romeo would be drafted #10-15. 14 fits the bill. He is a great young player, a great young man, and a great Hoosier! Good luck Romeo!

    Juwan is a true warrior. His journey will be filled with obstacles and doubters. But I am betting on Juwan! He is a great young man, a credit to Indiana University, and a great basketball player! Good luck Juwan!

  4. Facts last forever, opinions just fade away. Fact ,Romeo was a lottery pick with a bright future with an excellent organization and a very good coach in Brad Stevens to help him. Go Romeo!

  5. Good for them. From what I read Utah was on the phone with Juwan as soon as the draft ended. Both guys are seemingly in good positions.

    Kyle Guy, who was much hyped around here as a superior player to Romeo, squeeked in near the end of the draft at #55 to Sacramento. They also drafted two other players with a similar skill set.

  6. It’s good for RL and good for Indiana basketball. I’m really happy that in spite of the injuries that affected his performance and stats last season, Romeo was selected in the top half of the draft by a quality NBA organization with an excellent head coach. My only concern for him being selected by Boston involves the stories that Danny Ainge is in trouble and may not survive as the Celtic’s GM much longer. Clearly the power has shifted within the NBA, with GMs and coaches losing power while superstar players increase theirs.

    My heart breaks a little for Juwan. He deserved better. But if he’s going to enter the NBA as a free agent, signing with Utah is probably the best place for him to go. I hope he makes the team and is rewarded for the selfless leadership he demonstrated while at IU. If not, I’m sure he’ll be playing in Europe.

  7. he MAY have been drafted 14th BUT analysts don’t agree with Boston’s choice:::Loser: Boston Celtics
    These Celtics moved up and down the board throughout Thursday evening. The hope was that they’d be able to use one of their three first-round picks to get assets for down the road. Meaning, the Celtics need to do something in free agency to help offset the likely losses of Al Horford and Kyrie Irving. That did not happen.
    Sure Boston picked up a future first-round pick from Phoenix (via Milwaukee). But Danny Ainge botched the draft in a big way. He went with a limited Romeo Langford at No. 14 overall when much higher-rated players were on the board. Ainge then selected Tennessee power forward Grant Williams at 22. That was also a reach. We’re not sure what’s going on Boston. But it’s not great.

    1. Well, that is one opinion.

      I have read several articles this morning from analysts grading teams on their draft and the consensus is the Celtics were a solid ‘B’, putting their picks in the top third of the league. The only knock was that the players may have been rated a couple spots lower than where they were picked but the flip side is that they got the players they wanted to begin with.

      Time will tell.

    2. TJ I think that you are totally wrong! Analysts know that no one holds their opinions to the test of time. Romeo will be great in Boston!

  8. Kudos to Romeo on the candystripes. Classy move.

    I’ve never heard Noah Vonleh ever mention Indiana.

  9. t, Playoffs every year, 2nd to LeBron and Cleveland, no super stars on his roster, very entertaining play. What do you want? Boston fans are very pleased!

  10. Kyrie Irving’s not a superstar?

    I love that Romeo is going to Boston and think it was a good pick. But most of the draft analyses I’ve read rate Boston’s draft as sub-par, grading it out at a C, C-, etc. I guess “beauty” is in the eye of the beholder, and only time will tell.

    All that notwithstanding, Danny Ainge’s seat is getting very hot. I’ve read several op-eds that suggest Boston must do extremely well in free agency if Ainge is to keep his job.

    And that’s probably the last thought I’ll have about the NBA until another IU player is drafted. I’ve long since lost interest in NBA Basketball.

    1. Po,
      I may be wrong, but I’m not so sure if Ainge’s seat at Boston is as hot as some of his detractors would like for it to be. We have a lot of similar naysayers when it comes to Archie as well. There may not be as many tears shed in Boston over the probable departure of Irving and Hoford as one might think. If I read the undercurrent correctly, there is a sense of both players being “me first” personalities rather than team oriented. If this is the case, it says all the more about why Ainge and Stevens wanted Romeo as their first round pick. I am trying to think of someone with a more team first attitude than Romeo Langford.

      Romeo’s falling all the way to 14th could have been avoided if he had shut it down when the thumb was injured. Garland was knocked out early in the season, but still was the number 5 pick. The difference in contract dollars between #5 and #14 will be large. That is what Romeo gave up for the sake of IU and his teammates. Do I think going to Boston to be a much better destination than Cleveland? Absolutely, but dollar loss will substantial which is what I think Danny Ainge sees in Romeo’s willingness to sacrifice himself. RL has the kind of character you can rebuild a franchise on if his talent will develop to the level we all hope it will.

      The only one who may be on the hot seat in Boston is one Brad Stevens. His inability to pull the talent at his disposal in Boston together for a serious championship run, should not be lost on those who pine away for him at IU. What you are able to do at Butler and/or PU in the absence of a dominant IU program, may not necessarily replicate to coaching at IU. Thus far it certainly has not gone to a level that a Boston or IU would desire.

  11. Post draft grades are worthless. Wait until after the season when the “media scouts” go back and grade it all over again to see how wrong they were. Personally I thought Boston had a pretty nice haul. Besides Romeo, Grant Williams is a Draymond Green type of player and could help any team. Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters might be battling for the same spot on the roster but both of their games translate well to the NBA respectively.

Comments are closed.