Alabama Langford Cousins Like Illinois

The Fighting Illini basketball team normally recruits most of its players from the Midwest. But when special talents from distant locations show interest, Illini coaches are quick to become involved. Alabama natives Devin Langford and his older cousin Josh Langford are both considering Illinois and may be making an unofficial visit in the near future.

Devin Langford is a 6'-6" junior combo guard from Lee High School in Huntsville, Alabama. Josh Langford is a 6'-6" senior three who recently transferred into Lee and may be decommitting from Louisville. Both are showing interest in Illinois according to Lee High School coach Greg Brown.

"Devin is a good one. I think he's taken everybody by storm. He's silky smooth. Everybody loves just watching him, he's just graceful. He can shoot the ball, he can handle the ball, and he can pass it. Everyone who has seen him has the same evaluation of him. He reminds them of a Penny Hardaway.

"Some colleges are recruiting him as a point guard, and some are recruiting him as a combo guard. He's a playmaker."

Word is just beginning to get around about Devin. As a result, his ranking is not as high as his coach believes it should be.

"He didn't play a lot of AAU this summer. I think he just kind of spent most of his time at home. He played with one or two different teams in different tournaments, but that's basically it."

But that hasn't stopped recruiters from coming to Lee to watch Devin work out. Among them was Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard, who brought back an encouraging report about him. It seems the interest is mutual.

"I think his dad knew a little about them, and I've always liked Illinois basketball. He said he loved their style of play, and Bruce Weber speaks for itself. We've been following them ever since 2005."

Since Brown is serving as a guide and mentor for Devin, his recommendation undoubtedly goes a long way. He is not yet as involved with Josh, but he is excited to add the 6'-6", 210 pounder to his team this year.

"Josh is a pro. He's a three. He used to play the four back in the summer, and when he was at another high school. Since he's gotten to Lee, it seems like he has just grown leaps and bounds.

"Everyone who comes in says this kid is a straight-up three. He can really shoot the ball, he can handle it now. He's just blossomed. Great floor speed, and he's a freak of an athlete. I mean he jumps out of the gym."

Josh had been committed to Louisville, but reports indicate he may have decommitted recently. Brown is not certain the decommitment has become official yet.

"If he hasn't, he probably will be soon. I know he really doesn't want to go there."

Three top players are expected to sign with Illinois later in November, so it was presumed the class was complete. According to Brown, that might not be the case.

"I know that Josh likes Illinois. At the time, I don't think those guys had a scholarship. But something may have popped open. If so, I know they'd be on his list.

"And then you've got Alabama, Georgia, UNLV, Marquette. Just about all the programs that are liking Devin are liking Josh Langford. They're not concerned about the location that much."

Brown says Devin and Josh may be making an unofficial visit to Illinois in the near future.

"We were trying to get that way in a couple weeks. Just kind of like an unofficial so the guys can hang around and see the campus. We may make a weekend of it. We don't know which weekend it will be yet. We're working with the assistant coach there to work all that out."

Brown is uncertain about the timing of any school commitment for Devin.

"Devin is just a junior. I was wondering that myself. I just want to let him get through the season and focus on that a little bit. I was thinking maybe as early as at the break, maybe January. If not, then it'll be right after the season. We'll probably do something before going into his senior year though."

Brown is less certain about Josh. He could sign with someone this fall or possibly wait until spring.

"That one's hard to say. If he has indeed decommitted from Louisville, and I have no knowledge of that, he did indicate to me he wasn't going to be going. But I leave that situation with his parents because that was their situation before he came to our school. I let them handle that one.

"But he has expressed interest in other schools. So that is something I'll help him with once he does decommit. I don't think he'll sign with Louisville November 11. And if he doesn't sign, it might take him longer to make a decision. It depends on if he gets his visits in early."

Most high schools would expect a state championship and high national ranking if they had players the caliber of Devin and Josh Langford on their team. But for Lee High School, it is just another typical season.

"Normally, we end up in the championship every year, either in the regionals or the state. We never had a down season, but I lost six guys from last year. Those guys are all in college now. I think 3-4 of those went Division I. We're used to having quite a bit of talent. Devin and Josh give us a good start."

Whoever gets the Langford cousins will have quality people as well as quality players.

"One thing I like about these kids is they're so respectful. They're such super, super good kids."

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