Note: This part of the interview occurred prior to the first recruiting weekend with Tim and Romeo Langford. Romeo’s responses are noted.
What is Romeo’s background with organized basketball, and who would you say were his major influences in the game?
Tim Langford: His influences really were his family, his mother played basketball, she was a track player and volleyball and I played basketball, football, baseball, pretty much everything so it’s pretty much in his jeans. I first realized that he was interested in basketball when he was four years old. He had a little basketball goal in the hallway and he made about 10 out of 11 shots on that and I thought to myself that I might have something there. Then in 3rd grade he really started taking an interest in basketball and wanted to learn how to play. We took him to the park and just taught him how to shoot layups and dribble the ball, that’s the first things first. Then 4th grade was his first time playing organized ball at his elementary school. He actually made it to the championship game that year. He always had that desire to get better, even back to 4th, 5th and 6th grade—he was always the leader on the team and he stood out. So far as interest, he kept working on different things and then we did AAU, he took it more seriously and then he started developing with his aau coach back then and his development coach who worked with him to help his skills develop and get better.
Has Romeo always been a natural shooting guard?
He has worked on his shot always going back to the 4th shot and we taught him to work for his shot in different ways like if he pushed in transition or off screens. Now he’s really improved from this year to last year. When Romeo was playing with the Legends, his coach there really helped him develop and get better and he looked up to him as well.
What do you remember about when recruiting got started with Romeo?
The first school was IUPUI - the first to get involved and actually offered. That was going into the 9th grade. It was exciting and really it made Romeo realize that you have a lot of work you have to do. The main thing we focused on was school first, we gotta hit the books hard and stay working hard and keep healthy. Right now it’s still early and we’re just considering all the offers that will come about. Next year we’ll look into it more since he’ll be a junior and will take more interest in it. Now it’s just focusing on schoolwork.
Which programs have you guys at this point either had the opportunity to visit or have received a scholarship offer from them?
Romeo Langford: I have offers from IUPUI, Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, UCLA, Vanderbilt and I’ve been on campus to all of those besides IUPUI. I’ve been able to go to Butler’s arena and I’ve been on Ohio State’s campus. I like all the campuses I’ve been able to see because they have all been different. Vanderbilt’s was kinda small, you could walk from end to end there. Overall I have liked everything I’ve seen. Size doesn’t matter to me with the arena and campus, it’s really more important that I like the coaches and the program and the school.
What kind of questions did you have when you visited the campuses?
Romeo: We didn’t have specific questions that I think we asked, it was more about seeing the schools. We were paying attention to what kind of people were already located on the campus, where the campus is, the atmosphere of the campus, stuff like that.
How did you guys feel about the early offers?
Romeo: I’m blessed to have those offers, I really appreciate them offering me and being interested in me, but I really don’t pay too much attention right now since I’m just a sophomore.
Which programs would you say are showing interest in Romeo that haven’t offered a scholarship offer yet?
Duke, North Carolina and Kansas. Georgia Tech, Texas and Kentucky and Connecticut.
Is there a big difference in interest level with those schools with Romeo?
Basically with those schools other than Connecticut, I would get the assistant’s number and Texas also, but I had the other one’s assistant’s contact # and I would contact them and some said that we’d like to give you guys an offer at that time. With that said, it’s good to hear that they have interest.
What for you were the reasons in wanting to be proactive in seeking out those coaches on your own?
I just want him to have this opportunity and so it’s really going to come down to what he thinks and we’ll be 100% behind him in whatever he decides. He’s looking at the coaches, the team and the academic program for sure. It’s not a matter of distance, it’s just looking at how he fits in and who he wants to go with.
What are the impressions you’ve had of these coaches as they have talked with you?
They basically think that Romeo is an all-around player and they think he can contribute to their programs through similar things. They think he’d be a good fit in their program and they will continue to watch him grow. So it’s a blessing and we are proud of our son and know he still has a long way to go.
Which programs are sharing that message with you guys?
Kentucky, Duke, that’s the main two who are aware of how an offer from them can impact things with fans of their programs. They think he’s a good fit and he’s high on their list.
If Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky offer Romeo, how do you guys see that affecting the overall situation of his recruitment?
For us it’s just about staying focused in school, maintaining a level head and staying healthy and just continuing to work hard to get better. Every day is a new day and we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but at the same time it’d be an honor if some of these offers come in.
Have you guys paid any attention yet to how different programs utilize their guards and run their offense?
I’ve been taking a look at it like with teams who have been looking at him. They have different styles but at the same time some are saying that they feel he fits in well with them and so when I do watch them, I pay attention to that to see if he can fit in with them.
Along those lines, which programs have you been watching?
We’ve watched Kentucky and I’ve been watching Duke lately and Indiana, Ohio State, I’ve been watching Vandy and I’ve pretty much been watching them all whenever I get the chance to. Romeo’s been watching too. So when we narrow things down in the future, we’re going to pay a little bit more closer focus on what would be a better fit for him.
Do you perceive a big difference with those programs in terms of how they utilize their guards and how Romeo projects into each of those programs, or are you still forming those insights?
Yeah I can see like for example with three. The way Duke handles their guards and runs their offense is different from the way Kentucky does it with their guards and the way their offense runs and Louisville the way their offense runs and UCLA too, we’ve watched them a couple of times. To me, Romeo is like a run type player, he can setup offense and be in the half-court, it just depends on what the coach wants from him.
It sounds like you guys feel like Romeo could be a combo guard in college who can score and also play some point guard if he’s asked to, is that a good assessment?
Yeah that’s what we are looking for, that’s why he’s been working on his ball-handling so he can be that combo guard in college. I’ve had some colleges who have said he could play the one or he could play the 2 or he could be a combo, just depends on how many inches he grows he could even potentially play the 3, it just really depends on the team. For right now, other than AAU ball, he’s gotta a chance to play some combo and he’s played all over. In AAU he’ll get a chance to be a 1 and a 2 and a 3, so that’ll be good for him.
So when he plays that point guard role, is that something you guys have worked to add to his game or has that always come naturally?
Right now it comes naturally because with his high school team and the way they run their offense, they actually run him at the point some and put the ball in his hands and let him go one on one and create and dish to other players. They use him in different situations and he can kick it out or score. He just needs to keep working on that and that’s what AAU will be for, we can get him prepared for the next level.
Do you guys have your AAU plans all firmed up for the spring at this point?
Well we just decided last night, we’re going with the EG10 program, that’s who we will go with this year and then as far as next year or even in the summertime I just want to make sure he’s with the best program and players so that it can make him even better. In AAU I know you are going to get the best every week.
Since you mentioned you decided before AAU season started to go with EG10, were you guys evaluating other options before you decided on playing with them this spring?
Yeah we looked at Nike and Under Armour and we just tried to weigh our options but since we were deciding so close to AAU season starting up, we went with EG10. In the future we’re going to try and see how things are going with Adidas and if competition is better with the Nike circuit or somebody else we’ll have to look at that. We felt we should stick with EG10 for the time being. I’ll be evaluating this spring and summer because I’ll be observing the Nike circuit and the Under Armour circuit as we play on the Adidas circuit and then we’ll see what we come up with next year.
As we move towards wrapping up, can you discuss what your thoughts are towards the Duke interest so far and what your impressions are of their program?
Romeo: Everybody knows Duke and that they are one of the top programs in the country, they are showing interest in me and I’ve always liked Duke growing up even until now. Now they are showing interest and are watching me go through workouts and games, I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. I’ve talked to them a little bit, but they mainly talk with my dad. With me they say they like what they have seen so far of me and they tell me to keep working hard on my game and to keep improving.
Tim: I talked to Scheyer yesterday and he said he liked what he has seen of Romeo and he thinks he fits in real well in their program and he is high on their list. He wants to watch some more and they are interested in him and will be following him on the AAU circuit.
Was that your first communication with the Duke staff?
I had talked to them once before on the phone, matter fact a couple of times during the middle of the season. First calls were really about getting to know the family because that’s what they really try to do and we talked about Romeo as a person, family background, stuff like that.
***Note: Romeo Langford received a scholarship offer from Duke on April 18th. We spoke with player and parent again soon after.
Sounds like things have been slightly busy for you guys this past week…
Tim Langford: Oh yes it has with AAU ball, couple of scholarship offers too haha.
Did you guys ever imagine you’d be getting all the offers that Romeo did, especially this past week?
Oh no, we never expected this, to be honest with you we’ve just been focusing on doing what we need to do each and every day. It’s a blessing for sure and we’re just thankful for it all. We still need to stay focused on what we need to do in the classroom and keep working hard on his game and just doing the right things every day.
What’s helping you stay level-headed in the midst of such intense recruiting attention?
Well, we’re a grounded family and at the same time it’s exciting but we still take things day by day and doing what we need to do and maintain our normal lifestyle. We’re not letting this get over our head, we know what the right things to do are.
Were any of these offers surprising to you?
Really we weren’t expecting any of them to be perfectly honest with you, it was all unexpected. We think Romeo had a pretty good weekend last weekend that caught their eye a little bit more, so we think that’s potentially why it happened, but we definitely weren’t expecting these offers to come.
What do you remember about what was said to you with the scholarship offers that came?
Basically it was the same approach but they were surprising in the way that they came about. Sometimes with offers before we were kinda forewarned in the past like with Indiana, Louisville, Vanderbilt, we were pre-warned about those coming. But this past weekend, those offers were unexpected from Duke and Kansas. Those are two big time colleges and those offers were unexpected.
How did Duke extend their scholarship offer to Romeo?
Well, we had been talking with Coach Scheyer, he actually came down to one of the open gyms and got a chance to see Romeo firsthand and saw some things he liked. He said that Romeo was high on their list but he also said that they don’t just offer anybody from the younger class but they still had him high on their list. Then with Kansas we hadn’t seen them at open gym and I just hadn’t had time to get around to actually calling them, so that was more surprise with their offer than with the Duke one because we basically hadn’t had any contact with them.
What did Kansas indicate to you guys when you were finally able to make contact and they extended the offer for Romeo?
I talked to them and he was impressed with what he saw in Romeo especially with the way he stepped onto the court and the way he played in control and his vision on the court. They told him that they feel he’d be a good fit in the Kansas organization and how they were #1 in college basketball during this past season and they wanted to get a relationship going with Romeo and with the family so we can get to know the coaching staff in the future. It was exciting to hear from them and Romeo was excited about it, but like I said, we’re just going to continue from there because there’s nothing else we can do except continue to work.
So it’s the end of the day and Kansas and Duke have both offered Romeo, what do was the mood?
Well in speaking with Romeo, I remember back in 8th grade he mentioned three teams with Duke, Ohio State and Florida at the time and pretty much when he mentioned to his AAU coaches at the time that he would really hope to play somewhere like there, especially a place like Duke, they told him in so many words that that’s impossible but I told him that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it and if you work hard. I’d say we are thrilled about it that they wanted to offer and at the same time, it really makes him want to take things to an even higher level because the offer means you need to continue to get better and work hard in the classroom and try to stay healthy.
What do you remember about what the Duke staff saying when they presented the offer?
Well, they had another assistant Coach, Coach Nate James who was down there watching him this past weekend for the first time. He was really impressed and they relayed it to Coach K and Coach K pretty much said that Romeo is our guy and we need him and they were thinking about offering him now. Like I said before, they said that they usually don’t offer a lot of guys that young from the younger class and when they do offer, they don’t just offer to be offering, they are serious about who they give a scholarship offer to. We got the offer from Coach K on the phone, he asked me to give him a call and then we spoke briefly and he gave Romeo the offer. That was the first time ever talking to him but we had seen him a lot on TV but that was the first time we ever talked to him. It was very exciting and you could hear his knowledge of basketball. It was a special moment. Romeo is really excited, really thrilled and he’s looking forward to building a relationship with the coaches, really all the coaches who have offered him because really we have several years ahead of us.
Sounds like you guys are shaping up to have Romeo’s process be a more lengthy one, is that a good read?
Yeah but at the same time with all the offers that we have received we’re not favoring any one right now, but at the same time we’re not just interested in the basketball and educational programs at the schools where he has offers, the basketball stuff will take care of itself. We’re also looking into the relationship with the coaching staffs and seeing how connected they are as a team with the team. We got a lot to check out and we got some time.
Now that the newer offers are on the table for Romeo, are there any visits you are looking at taking in the future to find out more?
Not at this particular time, right now he’s busy with AAU and when we start getting around and when the coaches are actually able to contact us and Romeo personally, then this process will really start around then, around June 15. We’re looking forward to that and then we’ll go from there. Romeo hasn’t really done any calls to coaches, I’ve done that for him a little bit, so he hasn’t been contacting them on his own as much.
One on one with Romeo Langford
Sounds like it’s been a really good week for you…
Yeah I’m just so thankful and blessed for these scholarship offers from all these great schools. I didn’t really ask too many questions when they offered me.
What kind of things have you been looking at as you try to figure out at this early stage how you feel about programs who are recruiting you?
The main thing is what the school educational programs are like and my relationship with the coaches and then the team itself. Like with the team I’m looking at the players that will be there, other players they are recruiting, stuff like that.
In college, do you think you more of a true two guard or more of a wing player?
Right now I’m not really 100% sure where I want to be with that, I’ll do whatever the college needs me to do.
For fans who are getting familiar with you as a player, is there anybody you would point to who was in college last season that you would say you do similar things to what he did on the court?
Mmm, I’d probably have to say somebody like Buddy Hield.
How much have you heard from the programs who have offered you how they see you potentially fitting in if you were to play there?
I haven’t really talked too much about that, they mainly talk about that with my dad. They see me playing the 2 and the 3 and even playing the 1. There’s certain programs that see me that way but I’m not sure off the top of my head who they are.
Going to the Duke and Kansas offers this week for you, is there anything from what they shared with you in those conversations that is standing out for you?
The main thing I got from Coach K was he really liked how much I controlled myself on the court with my play and also with my demeanor, he said I’m never too high or never too low, I just stay the same way when I play. I felt really good, that’s a real credit to my mom and my dad that I do that. They’ve told me ever since I first started playing basketball to keep my cool and they told me it would help my game on the court.
How much familiarity do you have with the Duke program at this point?
I watch them when I can, but I don’t know too much. I just know when I watch their guards, they really let them play and they space the floor and they do a lot of screen and roll. They haven’t really compared me but they said they see me being a big time player in the program, they haven’t said too much about my specific role there.
Next steps now that you have a lot of offers at such an early age, are there any other programs that you are hoping to have an offer from before your recruiting process concludes?
I don’t really have programs specifically that I want them to offer me, if they come, they come.
Based on the programs recruiting you now, are there any that are towards the top of the list to visit first once you and your family start planning visits?
No, not right now.