2016 Madison (Ala.) Academy five-star shooting guard Josh Langford is a highly coveted student-athlete.
Spending his sophomore season on the high school level looking to lead Madison Academy to yet another state title, that opportunity was unfortunately and ultimately cut short due to injury.
“His sophomore year he did well but at the end of the year we found out he had a fracture in his hand for over a year,” Langford’s father Tellus said. “So, we ended up deciding to shut him down so he could be ready to go for the summer so he missed the last four games of the season and missed the playoff run which, he ended up not winning another state championship this year, which I would like to think they would’ve won if he would’ve played this year.
“But he had a great year, his assists were up, his points were up, his rebounds were down a little but he still had a great year and was still the 3A player of the year three times straight and a finalist for Mr. Basketball.”
Now three tournaments deep into AAU season this spring, Langford is bouncing back well, actually better than even his father could’ve hoped, helping lead his team to a perfect 5-0 mark in Dallas.
“I was a little leery being that he hadn’t had any physical contact other than a couple practices before we went out to Dallas but he’s a gym rat, he’s always in the gym,” Langford’s father said. “But, I was surprised at how he played this weekend.
“His jump shot was nice, his handles were nice and his athleticism, I think with the rest of not constantly playing and stuff like that, it just did his body some good and he just jumped out of the gym this weekend.”
Standing 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Langford possesses a strong inside out game, beginning to learn when to be aggressive and when to settle.
“I’ve seen the most growth in his mental capacity of the game,” Langford’s father said. “I think he’s always been the type of player that could get to the goal, shoot a mid-range jump shot and shoot a three-pointer every now and then, but it’s knowing when to do it.
“So, that mental capacity of knowing ok it’s time to go to the goal or shoot a mid-range jump shot. His mental IQ of the game has just grown through the roof compared to last summer.”
On the Wolverines, Langford’s father says one key aspect stands out above everything else.
“I talked to Coach Beilein a few times and they seem to be very excited about Joshua,” Langford’s father said. “I haven’t talked to them since after the weekend but I get a sense they really like Joshua and have a high interest in him, and we have high interest in Michigan as well.
“I like Beilein, I like the system they run, and how he develops players. He’s put seven pros in the last four years that weren’t necessarily the top kids coming out of high school so that speaks to the development program they have at Michigan.”
As it stands the Langford’s have no plans to get out for unofficial visits this summer, staying plenty busy on the road for AAU. But according to Langford’s father, they’d rather take trips during the fall and winter anyway.
“As of right now I don’t want to just go to a school for a football game anymore, I want to go and see a practice or workouts or a basketball game,” Langford’s father said. “So, right now with summer right now we don’t have any plans to go anywhere but this fall when basketball season cranks up, based on who is still recruiting him and the relationship we have with them, that’s when I’ll decide where we’ll go.”
When the time comes to start setting up visits, a swing north to see Michigan and Michigan State will be in the works.
“Oh I definitely want to get up to Michigan,” Langford’s father said. “And Michigan State has also shown a lot of interest too so, I definitely want to get up to Michigan to check them out.”
On Michigan State Langford’s father added, “Izzo and the words Final Four kind of just goes hand in hand now,” Langford’s father said. “They had some injuries this year but being an Izzo team they bounced back and advanced to go pretty deep in the tournament.
“It’s funny, they came up short but most teams would celebrate how far they made it in the tournament. They just came up short of expectations for Michigan State and Izzo but I like both (schools).
“I like Beilein and I think he does a great job. I like Izzo and think he does a great job.”
Coming from the south, Langford’s father downplayed any effect distance might play in his son’s college decision.
As far as what the family will be looking for in a program, a solid and challenging relationship with a coach could be key.
“As far as me and my input first of all I want a coach that’s going to be there,” Langford’s father said. “It’s kind of like musical chairs sometimes with schools but secondly I want my son to be coached. I know if he gets coached on the basketball floor it’s going to carry over to everyday life.
“If you’re required to be on time to practice and give it your all in practice and in games, that personality and that character is going to carry over into his everyday life, in the classroom, and everything else in life.
“My wife and I always tell Joshua, basketball is not who you are, it’s what you do. So, I want my son to be coached by somebody that’s not afraid to coach him cause he’s an elite talent but at the same time there’s always room for improvement.”
Langford picked up offers from Indiana and Wake Forest following a strong showing over the weekend.