Tulsa (Okla.) Central point guard Elijah Landrum left his Labor Day weekend official to SMU uncommitted with a plan to take his other visits and decide in late September. But shortly after returning home, he decided waiting was pointless. He knew where he wanted to go to school.
“I had came home and talked to my family about it,” Landrum said. “They were like, ‘we love it there and we love the program, the way they do the academics.’ I told them I really liked the school too. They said they were behind me 100 percent. When I made my decision, they were all for it.”
Landrum cited a close relationship with the SMU coaching staff as a big reason that led him to SMU. They created a welcoming environment for him on his visit.
“I think I fit in their program really well and I think I can benefit from the coaches there and all they have to offer,” Landrum said. “When I went down to meet with the coaches and talk to them, I felt like they’d be the best for me. The way they interacted with their players, you can tell they really love their players and their players love them.”
SMU offered Landrum in the summer of 2015 and started building a relationship then, but the Mustangs pursuit of him increased significantly this summer. SMU assistant coach K.T. Turner has been Landrum’s primary recruiter and the two have a strong relationship.
“Our relationship is great. We’re really close,” Landrum said. “We talk almost every day. He’s someone I look up to and if I ever need to talk or need anything basketball-wise, I can go to him.”
When Tim Jankovich replaced Larry Brown as SMU’s head coach in July, SMU’s offensive identify changed from slower-moving, deliberate and pass-oriented to fast-paced, free-moving and with more freedom to shoot.
“When I was watching practice, coach Jank told me the stuff they were doing in practice was exactly like the stuff they’re going to do in games,” Landrum said. “In practice, they were getting up and down the court fast and playing fast and doing everything the way I like to play. I don’t have to adjust to a whole new game plan.”
Landrum's 2016 Nike EYBL highlights are above.
Landrum had official visits set up to VCU and Stephen F. Austin, but did not take them. He was going to try to set up a visit with Tulsa, but never did. The Golden Hurricane was SMU’s strongest competition for the 5-foot-11, 175-pound point guard.
With Landrum’s commitment, SMU has landed a player from Oklahoma in three straight classes. The Mustangs beat the in-state Sooners for Shake Milton in 2015 and signed Dashawn McDowell in 2016.
Landrum is the first member of SMU’s 2016 class and is planning to sign in November.