Visiting top recruits right after cutting down the nets is a time-honored tradition in Chapel Hill. Roy Williams had barely finished picking the confetti out of his plaid suit jacket following his third National Championship before he was back on the recruiting trail. One of the prospects on his list was Romeo Langford of New Albany, Indiana. Now we’re seeing that dedication paying off with Langford
Considered the best shooting guard in the class of 2018, Marvin Bagley’s reclassification last month could make him the best player in the entire class. He is ranked no lower than 5th in any of the recruiting rankings. He is an elite scorer both with the jump shot and off the dribble, and averaged 28 ppg and 9 rpg his junior year. And he'll be watching the Heels hang Banner No. 7 on October 13th.
Needless to say, Langford has got more suitors than the Odyssey's Penelope. His Final seven included the usual suspects of UNC, Kentucky, and Kansas (though that team 8 miles up the road was notably absent). The two odds-on favorites to land him are closer to home.
New Albany is part of the Hoosier state and Langford is the presumptive favorite to be named Indiana Mr. Basketball for his senior campaign, but the town sits on the banks of the Ohio River, directly across from Louisville, Kentucky. Langford's a lifelong Cardinals fan and U of L has long expected to get him. Langford can provide them with backcourt scoring that they haven't seen since Russ Smith left town.
The Hoosiers won't be letting Langford cross the river without a fight, though. Langford was the late Tom Crean's (too soon?) top target, and now is Archie Miller's. One of the main criticisms of Crean was that he allowed too many in-state blue-chippers to get away from him and Miller would like nothing more than to make a splash in his very first recruiting campaign. Just as Cody Zeller's commitment was considered Crean's first big victory, so too would Langford's be for Miller.
If, however, Langford strays from the two favorites, the Tar Heels have a pretty dadgum good shot at being the ones to get him. The up-tempo style they play would maximize his scoring potential (in a way Louisville's defense-based grind certainly wouldn't) and their recent tournament success (which Indiana lacks) has to appeal to a player that would want to make an impact in the Big Dance during what would surely be his only year in school.
The challenge facing the Tar Heels regarding Langford, however, is two-fold. First, there's the issue of scholarships. With the awarding of a scholarship to Shea Rush, the Tar Heels now have all 13 available scholarships committed to players likely to be there next year, including incoming commits Coby White and Rechon Black.
Joel Berry and Theo Pinson will be gone, but outside of them, it's extremely doubtful any of the other players on the roster will be making the jump to the NBA. Getting a scholarship for Langford would likely involve bringing Rush back as a walk-on next year.
Secondly, despite the departure of Berry, the Heels will already have a lot of depth at the perimeter before Langford arrives. Jalek Felton, Kenny Williams, Cam Johnson, Seventh Woods, Brandon Robinson, and Andrew Platek will all be returning, as well as the incoming Black and White (how's THAT for a backcourt nickname?).
None of the returning players will have the supposed potential of Langford, but the returning players will have experience with Roy's system and Coby White is a five-star guard himself.
Anyone who has seen Langford's game knows that finding a spot for him on the roster would be a nice problem to have. He's a phenomenal talent and could be a key piece in making sure that a future Late Night with Roy includes hanging another banner.