Josh Langford: It just drives me to work harder, I just want to be the best that I can be and I just really want to be one of the best players who has ever played this game. It just drives me to work harder and harder, try to stay in my Bible, try to keep God first and try to stay level-headed.
It seems like spirituality is important for you…
I got baptized when I was five, and I got saved at an early age. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I always have believed that with God's help, you can accomplish anything in life if you really put your mind to it and put your faith in God. It helps me with the recruiting stuff because it's not that bad to deal with because of my faith in God.
Speaking of the recruiting process, are you handling much of it at this point?
Every now and then, but most of the time it's my dad who is talking with them. When I'm talking with them, I've talked a couple of times with the Michigan State assistant that's recruiting me, Georgetown's, Louisville's, Duke's, Vanderbilt, I try to talk to them, I don't want any school to think that I have already have some schools that are over the others, they all have good schools and they all have good chances with me.
Have you had the opportunity to talk with any head coaches at this point?
I've gotten to talk with some of the head coaches like Louisville's Head Coach, Coach Pitino, I've gotten to talk with NC State's Head Coach, those are the more recent head coaches that I've talked to. I talked with both the NC State and Louisville head coaches' when I visited those schools.
Can you run down a list for me of the schools that you have already had an opportunity to visit so far?
I've been to, this might be hard to remember every single one, but I've been to Vanderbilt, Louisville, NC State, Duke, I took a visit to Kentucky, we went to Big Blue Madness there. That's the schools I've visited so far.
What led you to visit so many schools at a relatively early stage in your recruitment?
Just getting to know the coaches a little bit more, I really don't want to focus all the time on colleges, it's not one of my main focuses right now, especially with AAU season coming up, colleges will be one of the main focuses for me down the line, but right now I'm focusing on getting ready to finish out my high school season and going into AAU season, I want to go hard in AAU. I'm going to be playing with the Atlanta Celtics this spring/summer.
You played with the Atlanta Celtics last season, what was that experience like?
Yeah with guys like Kobi, Braxton and other guys, those were the people that everybody kinda took to.
Are there any guys on the AAU circuit who you've struck up a relationship?
That's interesting you are good friends with Jayson and Harry, how long have you known them?
Yeah, those guys were the first guys I met when I went to USA Developmental Tryouts and that's when we became close friends. I actually got to see Harry again when I visited Duke for the UNC game, that was cool. Harry and I, during the high school season we're both kinda busy, but every time we can catch up with each other, we do that, mainly just to see how things are going with each other.
Also, I see that some of the same schools are recruiting us, that's pretty much it.
Harry and Jayson have discussed potentially playing together in college from what they've shared with me, have you had that type of conversation with anybody?
I've definitely discussed that with both of them, but it's not something, it would be nice if we played with each other but they have to make the best decision for them and I have to make the best decision for me at the end of the day. If it ends up all three of us playing together at the same school, it would be really great because it would be nice to go to school with some of my friends.
Do you think it's likely that you'll try and really coordinate playing together with anybody in college the way other guys have in the past, or will it be more an approach of just seeing where guys end up?
I think I'll pray and hope for the best and do the best I can with the schools that I'll be hopefully making the decision that's best for me and like I said, if it ends up with being at school with any of my friends, then that'll be great.
Heading into the summer, how do you see yourself evolving as a player?
Well, I'm 6-foot-6 now and I weigh 200 pounds and I'm really just in between, I want to call myself, I really just wish I could I call myself a basketball player because I feel like I can play the 1-3 position on offense and I feel like I can guard the 1-4 position on defense if I have to because I'm big enough with my size. I just think on the offensive end, with my size, I can be one of those combo guard guys that does a lot of different things. Like I can get the rebound and take it down and if I have to slow it down, I can start the offense.
At this stage, do you feel like any schools do a good job utilizing and developing a player that has your style of play?
I really don't, not yet. I always just really enjoyed watching basketball in general growing up, I didn't have anybody that I really watched, it was just if there was a good game on, I watched it.
With the early visits you've had, are there any schools that you really like at this stage based on what you saw on campus?
All the schools that I've visited, I've really liked them all, they are all good programs and when the time comes for me to make a decision it will be really hard because all of the schools recruiting me right now, they are just great programs and it's going to be the hardest decision I've made, but I will have to make it.
Since you are already aware of how hard the decision may be, do you and your family have a preliminary plan in place on what you will evaluate as you figure out your college decision?
We really haven't discussed it yet, but it'll be around the corner soon, maybe talk about how we're going to handle it.
For some guys who are evaluating a college decision, a part of that evaluation is re-classifying to an earlier graduation date, is that something on the table that you and your family are considering?
Not really, but like I said, whatever God's plan is for me to do, whatever He wants me to do, we are going to pray about it and try to make the best decision that He wants us to make.
You mentioned visiting Duke earlier Josh, what was your experience like there when you visited?
It was a great experience, just to be in that atmosphere and especially to be at the Duke game where they were playing North Carolina, those two are the two greatest rivals to ever play college basketball, so to experience that, it was great blessing and testament to me that I really just want to work harder so I could be at that level some day.
How did the visit get setup?
I really don't know, my dad he just kinda handles the visits, I talked with Coach Scheyer a couple of times and then my dad told me that we were gonna go visit, so I'm not sure how exactly it got setup. I've talked with Coach Capel as well but Coach K was really busy, what had happened that weekend, they had all those guys visiting on campus like Jahlil, Myles, and a few others and I understood that they were trying to seal the deal with Myles and he was spending some time with Coach K, so I understood the deal that I'm still just a sophomore and we'll be able to meet another time.
How did you know they were trying to seal the deal with Myles?
That's one of their main recruits, he's going to be playing next year while I'm not going to be playing in college next year, so I was just assuming that they were going to take care of him first before they took care of me, which was fine, I understood that. If I was going to be playing in college next year and they were trying to talk to sophomores more than they talked to me on a visit, I'd be upset, so I understood.
It sounds like you are keeping up with their recruiting based on understanding what Myles's situation was, is there anybody else in particular you are paying close attention to how their recruitments are going?
Not really, I've just seen those guys and I know Myles, he's supposed to be making his decision sooner, so I just knew he was trying to figure out if he wanted to go to school there when he was visiting.
Were there any other experiences on the Duke visit that stood out to you?
Just the environment, it's a basketball environment there, and the people they have there, they take everything serious there when it comes to basketball. It's kinda like Alabama with football, they just take everything serious with basketball there and everything was great and it was great to witness everything, especially how serious the fans took that game.
How did you evaluate Duke's style of play?
I think defense, Coach K really, that's where he takes the game extremely seriously and I can tell by the way he was coaching them that defense is serious to him. I think offensively, he had sets for them, but he really just let them play together offensively. I think me being a player that's a playmaker, I think down the stretch that could be good for me there and I could be a player there that could take it off the bounce while still doing different things. I also feel like in their organized sets, I can still play very well as a player.
You mentioned having discussions with some of the Duke assistants, can you elaborate there?
Well really, Coach Scheyer is the main person that I've talked to on the phone and I haven't really talked with any of the other coaches on the phone aside from Coach Scheyer. He's been telling me that they can see me as a player there, just like a 1, 2 or 3 guy for them there and a big defensive stopper for them. Everything they've said has been good.
You mentioned visiting Kentucky earlier, have you been in a lot of communication with them?
I'm not sure, my dad is talking a lot more with the coaches because I think as a player, it's real easy to just get caught up in talking with the coaches all the time and really falling into all the hype of recruiting and they forget how the focus really needs to be on just keep working and improving as a player. I don't want to be one of those kids that falls into that.
For the spring and summer period, what kind of AAU events and camps are you participating in?
I got invited back to the USA Basketball Camp, I think it's in July, if I make the team, we'll be going to Dubai I think. I'm not sure yet, but I'm really going to try my hardest to make it this time because I didn't make it the last time. I wasn't in good enough shape last time. It motivated me to a whole new level with my focus and motivation, I have a mental coach, his name is Graham, he's from California, we really just talked about letting those kinds of things just motivate me and I just think about that everytime before I work out and I try to go my hardest.
How did you come to having a mental coach be a part of your development?
I was luckily, back when I was freshman, I was one of less than 5 guys as freshman who got invited to NBA Camp this past summer and I was doing really well and Graham, my mental coach saw me walking around reading this book called, I think it's "Mindset" and he was shocked that a kid my age was reading a book like that. From there, we just kinda took to each other and we started talking and then he met up with my dad and it just started from there. We talk or text every now and then and we talk on the phone at least once a month and he'll send me a packet, like a mental packet and we'll go over that and talk about different things that helps me know that you have to be mentally focused and mentally prepare and take everything and be present.
How has that helped you grow as a person and a player?
It helps me a lot, like sometimes I would mess up in a game and I would get upset with myself, but now I'm still working with my dad and Coach Graham on my mental side and now I'm able to just say, that's in the past, let's move on and be in the present.
On the court when you are practicing, what does a Josh Langford workout look like these days?
Well, this past summer it was, I really didn't shoot the jumper as well as I should have, so I really went to the basket exceptionally well, but I needed to work on my jump shot because as I move up in my levels of basketball, I really need to be able to use that jump shot consistently. One thing I worked on, me and my dad told me that I was really going to work on my jump shot so I could show people that I can shoot, so I'm shooting, I get up shots constantly, I do a lot of ball-handling. Really, if I'm at home, I'm dribbling a basketball consistently and I dribble at least 10 minutes a day or more and I just turn out the lights in the garage and just dribble and do different kinds of move. When I go to the gym, I try to work on getting a bunch of reps on my jump shot both off the dribble, threes, off passes, catch and shoot, there's a drill called the 100 shot drill that I do, I don't know if the San Antonio Spurs still do it or not, but they used to when they were bringing guys in for draft workouts, they would do that jump shot routine, you shoot a 100 jumpers doing different movements like flaring to the wing and shooting, transition 3s, fades, different things like that.
For workouts, is that based off of self-motivation?
I have a few trainers but mainly it's been me and my dad and I've always been an internally motivated person. I wasn't always that good at basketball, kinda around when I was 7 or 8 is when I got serious with it because I got tired always sitting the bench. My dad told me then that he knew how I could get off the bench and he asked me if I was willing to work and I told him yes sir and ever since then, I've always been a gym rat. I sleep with my basketball, I just love basketball. I'm not really a video game guy either, like I really don't play any video games, I don't do social media, I'm really just a family guy and in my free time, I just like to spend time with my family, me and my sister, we might play a game of chess every now and then, I may take up a book every now and then but in my off-time I really just try to be chill so it's a time to relax and enjoy life with your family. I also try to meditate every now and then, read my Bible. My sister will tell you that she beats me all the time in chess but it's not like that, we go back and forth. It's a real competitive household between me, my dad and my sister, we just go back and forth when we play. My sister is 5 years younger than me.
Is there anybody else in your life aside from your dad and Coach Graham that is helping you with the recruiting process?
? Not really, we try to take, we're willing to listen if somebody has something to say, but it's really just my dad and us with the help of God, it's just us dealing with it.