For teams playing against New Albany and Romeo Langford in high school, it probably felt like they were playing against a video game.
In a video tweeted out from the Indiana Basketball account announcing Langford’s signing on Monday, that became a reality.
🚨New Player Added 🚨#IUBB Signs Indiana Mr. Basketball @yeahyeah_22pic.twitter.com/D0AN4ifDm0
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) May 7, 2018
MORE ON LANGFORD: ► Why Romeo Langford means so much to basketball in Indiana ► Insider: Landing Romeo Langford should help IU’s recruiting, but it’s no guarantee ► After Langford’s announcement, in-state recruiting attention turns to Jackson-Davis, Brooks Jr. ► Insider: How Archie Miller landed Romeo Langford, against the odds
The video highlighted other signees in the IU recruiting class, which is one of the top-ranked groups in the country. Then there were a bunch of Romeo highlights, which people can never seem to get enough of.
IU coach Archie Miller also offered his thought on the commitment from the latest IndyStar Mr. Basketball.
Archie Miller on Romeo Langford. #iubbpic.twitter.com/ejjzCIhWvU
— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) May 7, 2018
The last chance to see Langford play in high school will be during the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star series. Here’s how to get tickets.
A few months ago, highly touted basketball prospect Joey Baker committed to Duke.
Then, he got to work on the recruiting trail.
Baker — a 6-foot-7 forward from North Carolina, ranked No. 32 nationally in the class of 2019 by Rivals.com — formed a text message group with three other Blue Devils recruiting targets following his commitment, and he’s been helping out Mike Krzyzewski ever since.
One of those targets — five-star post player Isaiah Stewart — revealed the details of the text group during an interview with the Herald-Leader last week at a Nike league event in Indianapolis.
Stewart said that he and Baker are in it, along with top-10 prospect Bryan Antoine and All-America shooting guard Joe Girard, one of Stewart’s teammates on the Nike circuit.
So, it’s safe to assume Baker is trying to sell the uncommitted trio on Duke?
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Stewart said with a smile.
“Joey’s trying to sell us all the time,” he said. “He just tells how great of an atmosphere is at Duke — that there’s nothing like it. And the one time I was there, he’s right. It’s a great atmosphere. There’s just something special there. He’s just trying to tell us that, if all four of us guys go there, we could do something special.”
Baker has since revealed that he will reclassify to 2018 and join the Blue Devils for next season — an announcement he made last week — but there’s no reason to think he’ll be giving up on his recruiting efforts.
Stewart — a 6-9 power forward from Rochester, N.Y. — is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 10 overall player in the 2019 class. When asked if there’s anyone else in his class he’d like to play alongside in college, he immediately mentioned Girard, who recently jumped to the No. 79 ranking on the Rivals.com board and averaged 50 points per game as a high school junior this past season. Stewart also mentioned Baker and Antoine — the No. 8 player in 2019 rankings — as guys he’d like to team up with.
Antoine — a standout guard from New Jersey — was one of the first players in the 2019 class to earn a scholarship offer from Kentucky, though Duke is widely regarded to be the leader in his recruitment. He didn’t exactly deny it when asked about the Blue Devils last week.
“I hear it all the time,” he told the Herald-Leader. “Duke’s a great school. But I’m really not focused on stuff like that. I’m just trying to finish my AAU season. And once my AAU season is over, then I’ll start considering stuff like that.”
Antoine and Girard both said they will pick a school in time to sign early, during the November period. Stewart is undecided on a commitment date.
The existence of this Duke group text follows a template set by the Blue Devils’ No. 1-ranked recruiting class of 2018.
Tre Jones — the top point guard in the class — was the Blue Devils’ first pledge in that one. Top recruit Cam Reddish committed to Duke a couple weeks after Jones.
Krzyzewski then had an in-home visit with Jones and said he was hoping to add No. 1 overall prospect RJ Barrett and top-five recruit Zion Williamson to the class.
Jones told the Herald-Leader a few weeks ago that he created a group text with Reddish, Barrett and Williamson right after that meeting with Coach K.
“We were able to build the bond ever since then,” Jones said. “All four of us just want to win, and so we talked about what we’d be able to do next year, and hopefully that will all end in us winning. We want to play together.”
Reddish and Williamson, of course, later signed with Duke, picking the Blue Devils over UK and others.
Baker’s group text appears to be following the same path. Duke is currently the Crystal Ball leader for Antoine, Girard and Stewart, and they could be the building blocks of the next great Blue Devils’ class.
Duke is also in with 6-10 power forward Vernon Carey — a major UK target and the No. 1 player in the Rivals.com rankings — as well as fellow five-star recruits Wendell Moore and Josiah James.
In fact, the Blue Devils are currently favored on the Crystal Ball pages of all threeof thoseplayers. Stewart mentioned that Duke’s coaches have been pitching him on teaming up in the frontcourt with Carey, something he’s expressed interest in.
“I have a great relationship with Duke. They talk to me pretty much every day,” Stewart said. “They have a great relationship with my family, as well. Things with them are going great.”
Antoine, asked what he’s looking for in a college as he makes his decision, mentioned familiarity with future teammates as a major point.
That could be a major point in Duke’s favor.
“The core guys — the people that come into the school in my year — I’m trying to go with people that I know,” he said. “You know, top players in the country.”
Bryan Antoine is one of the top basketball recruits in the class of 2019.
Cyclones star guard Lindell Wigginton talks about his options, after entering the NBA draft evaluation process without an agent.
Mar 2, 2018; Norman, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Lindell Wigginton (5) dunks the ball over Oklahoma Sooners forward Khadeem Lattin (3) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports(Photo: Mark D. Smith, Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)
WEST DES MOINES, Ia. — There’s already been considerable NBA interest in Iowa State freshman basketball player Lindell Wigginton — and he hasn’t even worked out yet for anyone.
Coach Steve Prohm said at the annual Coaches vs. Cancer gala Friday night that he’s had conversations with multiple NBA teams since Wigginton decided to test the waters by adding his name to the NBA draft list. He hasn’t hired an agent, and he has until May 30 to withdraw.
Prohm also emphasized that he’s looking forward to big things next season from Cameron Lard, despite recent minor incidents with the law.
In February, Lard was cited for speeding and possession of drug paraphernalia. A few days after the paraphernalia charge was dismissed, Lard, 20, was cited for being underage in an Ames bar.
“Obviously, he hasn’t made great decisions,” Prohm said. “I’m not going to sit here and make up different excuses — he hasn’t made great decisions.
“I talked with Cameron (Thursday). He’s got to make better decisions; he knows that. He knows the standards for our program, but on the other side is I know my relationship with Cameron.”
Wigginton and the NBA
College or pro?
Lindell Wigginton has options.
“I’ve been on the phone with 10-to-15 teams,” Prohm said. “There’s been a lot of interest. This is great for him. It’s a great opportunity to get in front of NBA GMs, NBA scouts and NBA personnel to showcase his talent and his skill.
“He’ll get started next week sometime,” Prohm said. “He’s trained really hard. I think he’ll serve himself well.
“Just to get an opportunity to get in front of people and say:
“Hey, I’m Lindell Wigginton and this is who I am.”
Wigginton wasn’t on the initial list of invitees to the annual NBA combine. He’s an alternate, so there’s still a chance.
“I haven’t talked to him about that,” Prohm said. “There’s still an opportunity to get into the combine. If there’s anything we can do, we’ll do it.
“He may find his way in there. If he can, it’ll be a great opportunity to go against some great players.
“He has great ability to put that basketball in the hole. He can score in all different spots — the paint, mid-range, and 3-point range.
“He’s one of just two Big 12 players to make at least 65 3-point baskets and shoot 40 percent or better and average 16 points or more in a season. The other was Kevin Durant.”
Prohm said he will support whatever decision Wigginton makes.
“He’s super talented,” Prohm said. “He’s a high-character kid. The sky’s the limit.
“If he comes back to school, man, we’ve got a chance — let’s roll and do great things together.
“If he gets a chance to move on, I’m going to support him and pump him up as much as I can.”
Prohm addresses Lard situations
None of Lard’s legal issues have reached the level of suspension, according to Iowa State’s Code of Conduct for athletes.
“I want to help and invest in him,” Prohm said. “He’s young; he’s immature. You can only keep saying that for so long, but I want to help impact him and help change him.”
Lard must play a part in this, too.
“He’s got to change his habits,” Prohm said. “He knows that. We talk about it all the time. Hopefully there’s a good story out there for him to catch. I think there is, or else we would move on.
“He’s got a chance to do some really good things. I want to see him through.”
After the press conference, Prohm told two reporters that Lard is in good standing with the team.
“Cameron is fine — totally fine,” Prohm said. “One-hundred percent totally fine. I don’t want anything misconstrued on that whatsoever.”
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @RandyPete.
The Marquette men’s basketball team got a glimpse into its future Thursday.
The Golden Eagles coaches and players toured their new digs at the Wisconsin Sports and Entertainment Center and they were suitably awed by the building that will be their home starting next season.
“It’s magnificent, I don’t know how else to explain it,” MU sophomore Sam Hauser said. “It was better than what I expected, even looking at the draw-ups.
“But from what they’ve explained, it’s supposed to be the loudest, the best arena in the nation, NBA and college. So I’m really excited.”
Hauser and his teammates were seeing the inside of the arena for the first time.
The main draw, from an MU perspective, is a more expansive locker room than the one the team used at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Besides the locker area for the players, the new space includes a separate meeting room, an office for head coach Steve Wojciechowski and another area for his assistant coaches.
“We did have input into the locker room,” Wojciechowski said. “The Bucks have been great partners to work with. One of the things we asked for with the new building is a better locker room space, a better home for our guys in this building. And they’ve been more than accommodating.
“I think our locker room space is three times as big and many more times as nice. The locker room space, the coaches areas, all of those areas are top notch.”
RELATED: Bucks’ arena: New drone video shows nearly finished arena
As the building nears completion, Wojciechowski already is taking pride in his team’s new home.
“I can remember when I first got to Milwaukee and got the job (in 2014) and (Bucks President) Peter Feigin and I were going to town halls and trying to convince them that a new arena was a good idea,” Wojciechowski said. “From that inception to this point is pretty incredible.”
Wojciechowski also can use the new building as a selling point to recruits.
“I think they’ve been in awe of it,” he said. “You walk around and you see all the things it has to offer. It’s going to be a great place to play college basketball.
“One of the things I love about it is the intimacy. It feels like a basketball arena. And then it has all the new bells and whistles. Who doesn’t like that?”
Hauser can see how the building can be a lure for a high school star.
“The place where you play, it does play a pretty decent role in where you want to go for school,” he said. “I think with the new arena and how good it is, if I was recruit and they told me about this, I would be very interested.”
MU’s first regular-season game at the arena will be against Maryland-Baltimore County on Nov. 6. The Golden Eagles also have scheduled marquee home games against Kansas State (Dec. 1) and Wisconsin (Dec. 8).
“Our non-conference schedule in our home slate is outstanding,” Wojciechowski said. “We want to provide games and a product that people are going to want to fill this place for. We would hope that this new arena provides an incredible home-court advantage for our team.”
INDIANAPOLIS – New Jersey guard Khalif Battle, a Top 150 prospect in the 2019 class, committed to the Butler basketball program on Friday.
The commitment was the Bulldogs’ second in five days, following that of another Eastern player, 6-9 power forward Bryce Golden of Saint James (Md.) School. Next season will be Butler’s sixth as a member of the Big East Conference.
The 6-4 Battle is a junior at Trenton (N.J.) Catholic High School who is ranked 96th nationally by Rivals and 145th by 247 Sports.
His father, Gary, said Battle chose Butler over Syracuse, Miami (Fla.) and St. Joseph’s. Coincidentally, Syracuse was also among Golden’s final choices.
Battle is the brother of Syracuse’s 6-6 Tyus Battle, who is preparing for the NBA draft combine. Tyus originally committed to Michigan while Butler coach LaVall Jordan and assistant Jeff Meyer were on the Wolverines’ staff.
Battle is the second commitment in Butler’s 2019 recruiting class, following that of 6-10 John-Michael Mulloy of Carmel. Butler has one more 2018 scholarship available and two seniors next season – Nate Fowler and Paul Jorgensen – so could bring in one more player at most for the 2019 class.
Email IndyStar reporter David Woods at email@example.com or call (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.
TUCSON, AZ – FEBRUARY 25: Head coach Steve Alford of the UCLA Bruins reacts during the first half of the college basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center on February 25, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Go Joe Bruin looks at UCLA basketball and the Pac-12 over the last five years, comparing conference records and players sent to the NBA Draft, and the results are similar to the comparison’s made by Jon Wilner and Pac-12 football.
If the title of this article sounds familiar, it should. I recently wrote an article of similar nature about the UCLA football team. The unfortunate part is that when examining UCLA basketball‘s place in the Pac-12, the results are just as underwhelming.
RELATED:: Jim Mora’s discrepancy between wins and the NFL Draft
First off, let me start off by saying that this idea originated from Jon Wilner of the Mercury News’ Pac-12 Hotline. If you have not already, check out his article, One Measure of Pac-12 Coaching: Compare Conference Win Totals to the Number of NFL Draft Picks Produced.
In that piece, he compared conference records among Pac-12 football teams and their NFL Draft picks, and the results, especially when looking at UCLA’s production over the last six years shows severe underachievement on the part of former Bruin coach Jim Mora.
That got me to thinking about what the comparison between UCLA basketball’s conference records and the amount of players they have sent to the pros.
Using Wilner’s model, we will look at: (1) five-year conference win totals (Wilner used six, but we will stick to five to parallel Steve Alford’s tenure at UCLA), (2) conference win percentage, (3) five-year draft totals, (4) percentage of Pac-12 draft picks and (5) win total relative to draft picks.
Conference Wins by Year (2013-18)
Arizona State: 8+7+5+9+10=39
Oregon State: 7+1+9+8+8=33
Washington State: 4+6+1+7+3=21
The top two are obvious, but third and fourth are a bit of a shock. Utah has two more victories than UCLA in five years. That 2015-16 season, where the Bruins went 15-17 overall, really gives their conference win total a hit. Now let’s look at the percentage of conference wins.
Conference Game Win Percentage (2013-18)
Arizona State: 43.3%
Oregon State: 36.7%
Washington State: 23.3%
Once again, Arizona, Oregon and Utah lead the Pac-12. UCLA comes in 4th with only a 61.1% conference win percentage. This is a big reason why they have not won a single regular season conference championship in Alford’s tenure. Sure they came close during the 2016-17 season, but not close enough.
Unfortunately, UCLA basketball fans, these numbers are even more depressing when you look at the number of players sent (and sending) to the NBA.
Next: Steve Alford’s discrepancy in wins and the NBA Draft (cont.)