Grimes, Langford ready to roll at 2018 Jordan Brand Classic

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas basketball target Romeo Langford will be in Brooklyn on Sunday, participating in another significant event that could bring him one step closer to making a decision about where he will play his college ball next season.

Langford, along with 23 other top players in the high school class of 2018, will be at Barclays Center for the 17th annual Jordan Brand Classic all-star game, playing for the Home Team, which also will feature KU signee Quentin Grimes. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. on ESPN2.

Langford, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard out of New Albany, Ind., who is ranked as the fifth best player in the entire 2018 class by 247 Sports, is one of just two players on either roster who remains undecided about his collegiate future.

The other is 6-9 forward Darius Bazley, who recently made headlines by backing out of his plan to play at Syracuse to make the jump to the NBA's G League instead.

Langford, by all indications, is intent on playing college basketball next season and he said last month, at the McDonald's All-American game that he would make a decision from his three finalists — Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt — sometime before the end of April, after the Jordan Brand and Nike Hoop Summit on April 13.

After a pre-Classic workout earlier this week, Langford told reporters that he would not take any more trips to his three finalists before making his announcement and added that he has already heard all he needed to hear from each of them and that he remained in contact with coaches from all three programs on a daily basis.

“I'm at the home stretch now,” Langford recently told SI.com's Chris Johnson. “I just have to make a decision.”

Grimes, who signed with KU in November, after picking the Jayhawks over Kentucky, Marquette and Texas, has said since then that he has been in Langford's ear constantly about his desire to have Langford join him and fellow-five-star guard Devon Dotson at KU next season.

With all four of KU's top four perimeter players from the 2017-18 Final Four team leaving — Devonte' Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk to graduation and Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick to early-draft entrees — KU coach Bill Self certainly has enough playing time to hand out to keep all three players happy.

Grimes and Dotson both know that, and, earlier this week, Grimes reiterated that he would love to see Langford join the roster.

“I feel like if he came, it would be crazy in the backcourt,” Grimes told Johnson.

Whether the Jayhawks land Langford or not, it seems certain that Kansas will look to add another player in the 2018 class to help fill out next year's roster.

“We definitely have to get someone,” Self recently told the Journal-World. “I think we need another shooter for sure.”

Throughout the years, several future Jayhawks have delivered strong performances in the Jordan Brand Classic.

Cliff Alexander (2014) and Cheick Diallo (2015) brought home MVP honors and Diallo's 26-point outburst still ranks as the fifth most points scored in a single game. Alexander scored 23 during his MVP performance.

Dating back to the showcase event's debut in 2002, 13 other soon-to-be Jayhawks represented themselves and their future school at the Jordan Brand Classic. In order, they were:

Rodrick Stewart (2003), Sasha Kaun and Russell Robinson (2004), Julian Wright (2005), Sherron Collins (2006), Xavier Henry (2009), Josh Selby (2010), Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins (2013), Kelly Oubre (2014), Udoka Azubuike (2016) and Billy Preston (2017).

Comments

Joe Ross

I hope we get Langford.

Self's formula for success has been to combine talent in the OAD era with veteran leadership. Right now, the most experience we have in the backcourt is freshman Marcus Garrett (K. J. Lawson has more than 1 year experience in college but that was on a Memphis team, and of course Cuncliffe and Moore played elsewhere as well, so parse it how you will). Suffice it to say that with the lack of Big 12 experience next year in our backcourt, we may as well get the best available of the one-and-dones.

Kansas' frontcourt, thin as it was last year, will feature the most experience on the squad. There could be some growing pains as a team and late coming together, but by winter break and the beginning of conference play the dust should start to settle. Langford would bloom at just the right team to provide the last ingredient to roster's recipe.

Here's hoping!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Nicely stated.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dustin Thorne

Kansas's frontcourt should be stacked with talent next season which is something we haven't had in the last two seasons. If Langford were to choose Kansas then our backcourt will be amazingly talented! I wonder if HCBS will redshirt somebody next year. If so I wonder who that would be. Lightfoot might be a possibility or even Garrett. But what the hell do I know, I'm just a fan that is ready for some basketball already!! Rock Chalk!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Self won't redshirt 2 of his most experienced players.

Maybe Ochai Agbaji?

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

It seems pretty rare for freshmen to redshirt at KU. Releford was one of the few to due it, and that wasn't until his sophomore year. Freshman get a chance to come in and figure out how much they don't know.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

It has been rare, and when it has happened it's usually been players who were fairly obviously not going to be contributors.

Landen Lucas was going to get no play as a freshman. Brady Morningstar I believe actually came to KU as a preferred walk-on for the '08 championship team and redshirted. Connor Teahan was a walk-on in 2008-09 and I think he also redshirted as a sophomore (09-10) with Releford.

I can't think of any other players who redshirted that weren't transfers, medical redshirts (Mario Little), or otherwise ruled ineligible (McLemore and Traylor).

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

I agree with you Marius. Agbaji would be the most likely possibility if there is a redshirt. The goal may be to have him become another Travis Releford who got to be a 5th year senior.

Also, don't sleep on Charlie Moore. I know that his one year at Cal wasn't necessarily against Big 12 type competition, but the Pac 12 was pretty good last year. They had four teams in the NCAA with UCLA and Arizona making it to the Sweet Sixteen and Oregon making it to the Final Four.

He is a more prototypical point guard even those he is short. He is quick, has a good touch, and seems to see the court pretty well. Remember, Frank Mason was thought to be too small, and look what he accomplished.

Moore's biggest problem appeared to be with turnovers. However, I'll bet that having a year to watch and compete against Devonte Graham in practice, along with the tutelage of Coach Self and his staff has prepared him for next year.

Eventually, Dotson will likely take over the starting point guard role, but don't be surprised if Moore has it for a good part of the early season.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

I don't have any problems with Charlie Moore's height. There is a long list of PGs who made it through college and into the NBA with successful careers.

To be honest, he is probably the player I know the least about as I don't remember us ever having actively recruited him. He has a head start on all the incoming players so I would think the job was his to lose or keep.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Reggie Flenory

Frank Mason had a much better body type built like a defensive back Charlie Moore doesn't have the same frame or explosiveness

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

I thought Langford was going to make one last visit to Indiana. Maybe he did already, or maybe he decided not to because KU is going to be his choice. Hope so.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Langford decided not to make any more visits to the last 3 teams on his list.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

New Albany is right around the corner from Bloomington. I'm sure he has been there many times.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Pius Waldman

Langford doesn't have to sign during the spring signing period. He can sign an agreement the day before the school begins.
It certainly looks like he is headed to KU. He without any more visits knows where he is going.
He only has to announce it.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

Regarding Romeo's decision, and let me stress it's his decision not mine, but the pure facts are these:

1] Bill Self is a HOF coach who has put a number of guards in the NBA.

2] Kansas is a preseason favorite to win the national Title. Can Indy or Vandy say the same?

3] Romeo will be surrounded by 4 & 5 star talent so no undue amount of pressure will be applied to him.

4] KU, as mentioned above, has lost it's starting guard package from a 4 guard offense...plenty of PT.

5] KU provides a huge amount of front line talent that can be used to maximize Romeo's game.

6] KU will rank near the top once again for nation wide TV exposure.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Vanderbilt has a former NBA player for a coach, and he's building a nice roster. Sort of like Alabama. Not that I think it compares in any way to KU, but Bryce does seem to be upgrading things there.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

Hey Tony, with regards to your point 8, Langford would be able to maximize his personal bread exposure with appearances vs a$ top 10 MSU in the champions classic, b) vs nationally ranked teams in NYC’a preseason NIT, (Louisville #22, Tennessee #5), c) #3 remakes and defending National Champions ‘Nova in AFH, d) top level Big 12 conference play. No to mention the daily competition from intense practices.

If Langford wants National exposure playing against the best competitors...Kansas is his place.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Just so I'm clear, there's no relation between Romeo Langford and Keith Langford, is there?

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Robert Brock

If Self is looking for a “shooter,” he will probably find a reasonable selection of graduate transfers that can fill the spot. Romeo is more of a “scorer” than “shooter.” And KU will have a few “scorers” next season starting with Dedric Lawson.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Sam Burns

The game is on ESPN2 at 4:00 p.m.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Alan Dickey

I think you’re correct, Robert. Thus, can someone help me understand Self’s comments that “[w]e definitely have to get someone. … I think we need another shooter for sure”? Does he mean a three-point shooter? If so, that’s confusing to me.

Below are the 3-pt averages for the upper-classmen players likely to be on KU’s roster next year and likely to shoot some threes—for the last year each played in the NCAA (except for using Cunliffe’s ASU nos.):

* Sam Cunliffe: 41% (37/95 [in only 10 games at ASU])

* Charlie Moore: 35% (45/128)

* KJ Lawson: 33% (22/67)

* Dedric Lawson: 27% (30/111)

* Marcus Garrett: 25% (12/45)

If some or most of those guys improve just a bit, that’s fairly good as far as those dudes are concerned, especially given that Dedric is a PF, who likely will get a lot of PT.

As to the incoming freshman recruits, according to the ESPN scouting report:

* Grimes is “a much improved three-point shooter who knocked down 42% of his threes in the Adidas Gauntlet this year (up from 29% in 2016).”

* Dotson: Under “weaknesses,” one “area[] of continued growth must be his outside shooting.”

* Langford: “While he has naturally soft shooting touch, he's not yet a consistent three-point shooter as he converted only 24% of his attempts from behind the arc during two seasons in the Adidas Gauntlet and has a release that comes out almost to the left side of his head at times.”

If true, Grimes would be the main outside threat we would have other than Cunliffe, Moore, and KJ Lawson. Maybe that would help Cunliffe (if he can learn to defend) earn some PT next year.

Romeo definitely would be a great addition, but is there any reason to believe that he will add to our outside-shooting threat with his 24% 3-pt shooting?

And, if not, who else would be the “another shooter” the Self says “we need”? Who is out there and available who fits that description?

I really do wish that Newman had come back. We're going to be much less of an outside threat next year than we were this year, unless some of those guys listed above improve their long-range shooting, and especially if Cunliffe doesn't get a lot of PT.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Alan Dickey

Stated otherwise: Assuming that next year, there are times when we really need some voluminous outside shooting (say, e.g., against an effective zone) either of these two lineups might have to be the ticket (unless Dotson, Garrett, and/or Langford (if we get him) improve a lot from behind the arc):

N/A 3pt - Udoka Azubuike: Jr. / 7-0 / 280; (2017-18: 23.6 mpg; 13.0 ppg; 7.0 rpg)
27% 3pt - Dedric Lawson: RS-Jr. / 6-9 / 230; (2016-17: 34.5 mpg; 19.2 ppg; 9.9rpg; 3.3 apg)
41% 3pt - Sam Cunliffe: RS-Jr. / 6-6 / 190; (2017-18: 5.1 mpg)
42% 3pt - Quentin Grimes (HS): Fr. / 6-5 / 180; (Rivals #10)
35% 3pt - Charlie Moore: RS-So. / 5-11 / 170; (2016-17: 28.8 mpg; 12.2 ppg; 2.0 rpg; 3.5 apg)

OR:

27% 3pt - Dedric Lawson: RS-Jr. / 6-9 / 230; (2016-17: 34.5 mpg; 19.2 ppg; 9.9rpg; 3.3 apg)
33% 3pt - KJ Lawson: RS-So. / 6-8 / 210; (2016-17: 33.7 mpg; 12.3 ppg; 8.1 rpg; 2.8 apg)
41% 3pt - Sam Cunliffe: RS-Jr. / 6-6 / 190; (2017-18: 5.1 mpg)
42% 3pt - Quentin Grimes: Fr. / 6-5 / 180; (Rivals #10)
35% 3pt - Charlie Moore: RS-So. / 5-11 / 170; (2016-17: 28.8 mpg; 12.2 ppg; 2.0 rpg; 3.5 apg)

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

One factor we, including myself, have failed to mention, is the Andrea Hudey Factor. Romeo is 6'-5' and 190 right now, a total string bean by NBA standards. A year at KU with the combination of the on court competition and the off court training regime cannot be matched anywhere.

It would be safe to assume Romeo is a for sure OAD, so physical preparation will be just as critical as basketball preparation.for the brutal NBA Grind!!!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

OOPPS....If he was 11' tall he wouldn't need Andrea!! 6;-5" Tall!!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

Damn..if I could type, I'd be dangerous - six foot five inches tall!!!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

Once again, Tony, you bring up a salient point, and it is not about your typing. Your mention of Andrea Hudy is a major issue. She may be the best in the country at what she does, and her impact on the KU basketball program has been monumental.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Agreed. I hope KU is paying her well because she is too valuable to let her go to some other program. If anything, she deserves a raise because her training helped this shorthanded team bring home Big 12 hardware and a Midwest Regional trophy. Hudy isn't getting paid enough!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

Bryce, I totally agree my man. I don't think it was a coincidence that KU played essentially seven to eight guys through 39 games and no one missed a game because of injury.

Truly amazing!

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Robert Brock

When Self mentioned that we could use a “shooter,” most fans immediately thought about a guard. Maybe someone like Svi or Newman.

Why not a great shooting BIG? If Mike Daum, the 6-9 kid from South Dakota State, graduates and is available as an immediately eligible grad transfer, I would guess that the KU staff would be delighted to sign that kid up.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jonathan Allison

thanks Brock. That's some good insight. Obviously Self and co. are all-in for the best player available in R. Langford. However, he's no lock, and at this point you do have a scholarship to give, we are losing effectively all of our 3pt shooting and so far don't have anyone on the roster who is a 3pt specialist, or really anything more than a serviceable threat to shoot the 3 if open.

It would be a win-win situation if we don't get Langford to go after a one and done grad transfer who is a proven threat from long range.

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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Geoff Ermlap

Lot of the one and dones are rated on potential and as KU and Self have proven, sometimes that first and only year falls way short of expectations. No guard coming in would have provided more for this team than Vick would have. Self should have done more to keep him instead of likely helping to send him down the road to free up a scholarship

5 months, 2 weeks ago

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