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Romeo Langford Declares for 2019 NBA Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2019

Indiana coach Archie Miller, right, talks with guard Romeo Langford during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Indiana won 75-73 in double overtime. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

Indiana Hoosiers freshman guard Romeo Langford declared for the 2019 NBA draft on Thursday, according to ESPN's College Gameday:

College GameDay @CollegeGameDay

Breaking: Indiana freshman Romeo Langford (No. 11 ESPN 100) tells ESPN he will declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. https://t.co/BKH6kAhrWp

Langford had a solid freshman season, averaging 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, though the Hoosiers in general struggled to a 19-16 record, failing to reach the NCAA tournament. He also struggled with a torn ligament in his hand throughout the year.

"I think it's fair to say that we never got a chance to see me at my best at the college level, especially since I've been playing with basically a cast on my thumb the whole season," Langford said, per Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. "Obviously that throws off your shot. Even though I didn't shoot as well as I'm capable of, I feel like I shot the ball pretty well in the second half of the season."

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Some highlights from Romeo Langford's freshman season. Was named second team All-Big 10 and made the conference's All-Freshman team. Will be interesting to see how he looks in workouts once he's back at full strength. https://t.co/KvaTRu9fWv

Langford has ideal size and length to play on the wing at the NBA level, and he proved he can get buckets at the college level.

There are questions about the consistency on his jump shot, however, and like many college players, his defense will need to improve at the professional level. He also seems to split opinion when it comes to his NBA prospects.

"He's got this funky deal where he brings the ball over his head on his jump shot with a hard wrist action," one college coach told Sam Vecenie of The Athletic in late February. "I don't believe in him as a shooter at all. I think he's going to have to change it altogether."

That same coach added: "He's good, but I don't think he's this freakish, freakish athlete. His handle isn't super tight. His playmaking isn't there. His shot is obviously wildly inconsistent. I don't know. I'm sure he'll be a top-15 guy, but I'm not sure he's going to be someone that right away is ready to do it."

Another coach was much higher on Langford, however:

"He's fast. He's got such a great burst. He's great in transition. He can get to the rim at will. He's very, very strong for a kid that age. He just has a knack for scoring the ball. We had some guys on the wing that we thought were pretty physical, and he got wherever he wanted. When his shooting comes, he'll be really good. Great athlete, very strong. Able to get to his spots on the floor very easily."

Players with Langford's physical profile and ability to get to the rim warrant patience at the NBA level.

He has the talent to be an excellent two-way wing, especially if he irons out the kinks in his jumper. Even if he never becomes an elite shooter, he could have very nice value as a slashing, athletic wing.

If he doesn't improve his jumper or his defense, however, Langford could struggle to make his mark at the next level. But given his potential—and the fact that he was battling an injury in the 2018-19 season that might have altered his shot—he's expected to be a lottery pick.

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