Archie Miller won 16 games last season, his first at Indiana. None of those victories come close to the big win he got Monday night: securing a verbal commitment from beloved in-state high school superstar Romeo Langford.
Langford, the No. 6-ranked player in the Class of 2018 and the highest-ranked uncommitted player heading into the day, changes the direction of Indiana's program. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard made his decision public at New Albany High School, where he's become an adored player and figure over the past four years.
The estimated crowd on hand to watch the pledge ceremony was north of 4,000 people. Langford's commitment day was maybe the biggest event of April in that state -- regardless of being a sports story or not. If Langford to IU winds up turning into a blissful tale of success, his decision to wear cream and crimson will go down in Hoosier State lore.
In picking the Hoosiers, Langford opted for Miller over competing finalists, Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew and Kansas coach Bill Self. In the hours before his promise to IU, 247 Sports' Crystal Ball predictions had 80 percent of recruiting analysts forecasting Langford to Bloomington. Vanderbilt had 12 percent, Kansas 8 percent.
Vanderbilt five-star point guard prospect Darius Garland had lobbied for Langford join him in Nashville next season, but that combination will not come to be. Even without Langford, Vanderbilt still has a top-10 class thanks to Garland, five-star forward Simi Shittu and four-star small forward Aaron Nesmith. For Kansas,, but the Jayhawks still to validate a preseason top-five ranking even without Langford.
The Hoosiers began the day ranked 21st in 247 Sports' recruiting rankings. Langford's addition will undeniably bump up IU significantly. He joins power forward Jerome Hunter (No. 54) as the two top-100 prospects in IU's class. Small forward Damezi Anderson (114) and point guard Robert Phinisee (125) are in the top 125. A well-rounded prospect, Langford's a potential one-and-done player because he's an athletic and natural scorer, someone talented enough to step into college next season and average north of 20 points.
Don't expect Langford to arrive on campus and have a Trae Young-like impact overall on offense (he's not a point guard), but if you're wondering which freshman in next year's class is most likely to get buckets and recognition to Trae-like levels, it's Langford.
He can also play defense effectively against many positions, aided by his 6-11 wingspan. His game is built for immediate success at the college level. It's hard to see how this won't work out wonderfully for him and Indiana next season. Langford's coming off a high school career in which he scored 3,002 points -- fourth most in Indiana high school basketball history. He went 100-10 in as a four-year letterman at New Albany High, winning a state title as a sophomore. He averaged 28.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.2 blocks and 2.1 steals in his high school career.
Langford's commitment is national college hoops news, but on a local and regional level it's hard to overstate just how much this means to Indiana's program and the millions of Hoosiers fans who have been waiting for this day for almost four years.
Consider this anecdote, via Peegs.com, a 247 Sports site that covers Indiana basketball: "After games Langford's senior year, autograph lines that sometimes took more than hour to get through were common, at home and on the road. He stayed to sign for every person. People lined up as early as 5 a.m. to get a prime seat at some of his postseason games."
This was the scene hours before his announcement:
The Hoosiers had an expected year of adjustment last season, as Miller took over after IU fired longtime coach Tom Crean. The team will bring back De'Ron Davis, Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts and Justin Smith. Juwan Morgan should return as well, if he opts to take his name out of the draft process and return for his senior season.
With that lineup, and the incoming class, IU will have the seeds to become a top 25 club later in 2018-19.