Tag Archives: Romeo Langford


The Local College Hoops Scene Is Bonkers | The Final Say

By Zach McCrite

What an unusual college sports landscape we’re in right now in Kentuckiana.

Sure, pro sports chatter is primarily about the athletes. But in major, revenue-producing college athletics, the primary subject of the ire for media and fans (save for very few exceptions) is the head coach.

And in our area, we’re in a curious spot with all of the head coaches at the basketball programs.


Let’s start with Indiana, probably the least curious of the three within a proverbial rock’s throw from this publication’s readership.

Archie Miller has been given plenty of leash to work out the kinks in a program that certainly needed it. And it’s been a work in progress, to say the least.

In fact, there have been many fans that have – more or less – allowed the first-year head coach to take massive, embarrassing losses at the friendly confines of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Multiple losses. To other in-state teams. By 20 or more points.

Sure, between implementing a brand-new style of play and doing it with the limited talent left to him on the current roster, getting Indiana back to the perennial Top 25 team they used to be once upon a time is, of course, not an overnight process.

But, even with those disparaging losses, Hoosier fans and media alike (myself included) have treated Miller with kid gloves, taking these losses in stride, for the most part.

Of course, it’s safe to say there has been some improvement in the group as the season has gone on. Tip of the cap, Arch.

But, I feel like, even in his charter season, Archie would be feeling a little more heat from all of us in Hoosierland if not for this little protective bubble that’s been placed around him.

That bubble goes by the name of Romeo Langford.

As sports fans, we traffic in hope. We thrive on it. It’s our caffeine. That hope is what keeps us coming back for more, even when success isn’t coming at a consistent rate. It’s our current cup of coffee.

And that current cup of “hope coffee” is Romeo,

the top high school shooting guard in the Class of 2018, making posters out of poor opposing defenders with his addictive take-him-home-to-meet-your-momma demeanor.

The kind of local celeb where you can talk to other local strangers about him, refer to him only by his first name, and both of you know to whom the other is referring.

I don’t know where Romeo is going for his college basketball career. Neither do you (unless, of course, he surprised us all with an announcement between the time of this writing and now). But Hoosier fans are hoping it’s IU, obviously.

And it’s a credit to Miller that IU is even in the hunt for Romeo, especially given the substandard state of the Indiana hoops program.

My educated guess? Romeo wouldn’t have IU in his final list of potential schools to which he’s contemplating going to school to play basketball had Tom Crean still been the coach in Bloomington.

But Romeo’s interest in the Hoosiers has created a protective bubble of hope around Miller. Until Romeo decides to commit to a school not named Indiana, that protective hope bubble will not fade, providing what would be harsh criticism – the kind usually reserved for coaches who receive beatdowns from powerhouses like Indiana State and Fort Wayne – from really hitting the IU coach.

And if Romeo does decide to dawn the Crimson and Cream, that protective cocoon once conceived of hope where Miller currently resides will turn into one made out of real credit (and gratitude, too).


I’m literally shocked by the way Kentucky head coach John Calipari has been acting lately.

Sure, he’s a master of using the media to get a message across to his team (and, at times, to his recruits as well). But, this time around, he’s been as critical of a Kentucky team as he’s ever been as the head coach of the Wildcats, especially given the new class of freshmen he brought to Lexington, a class worthy of a top-five preseason national ranking.

John Calipari’s success at UK has been exemplary. Final Fours, once a fleeting luxury under Tubby Smith and an impossibility under Billy Gillispie, are now damn near expected regardless of the new crop of newcomers that comes into Big Blue Country.

In Cal We Trust.

Whether it’s after the oodles of victories or the small handful of defeats, Cal will usually mention the seemingly few flaws of his team. They’re usually mental flaws that he hopes will get corrected by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around.

More often than not, Cal blames these flaws on his team’s never-ending youth. As expected as death and taxes.

But this season has been different. The Cats are taking unusual losses – unusual for Big Blue Nation, at least. It’s not like they’re going to miss the tournament or anything.

But the usual Cal quotes have been modified. This is a rarity.

Consider: Earlier in the season, after a 29-point shellacking of rival Louisville, the UK coach did the unthinkable. He was going to stop referring to that youth.

“I said today before the game, we’re no longer freshmen,” Calipari said after another victory in the rivalry back in December. “I’m not saying it anymore – we’re not freshmen now. We’re 10 games in, 11 games in, we are not freshmen.”

Then, in a mid-January loss at home against lowly South Carolina, Calipari went back to his old, youth-based excuses for his team’s inability to play at the level commensurate to the Kentucky head coach’s expectations had returned.

“This looked like a bunch of freshmen playing,” Calipari said after his team’s 76-68 collapse at South Carolina.

“The first half, you would look and say, ‘Ah, they got a nice team and da da da da.’ They’re all freshmen. In the second half, you looked at us and we looked like a bunch of freshmen playing like freshmen would play.”

Cal used the word “freshmen” three times before he took one breath.

Perhaps the players aren’t the only ones reverting to old childlike habits.

The surprise isn’t that the excuses had returned, it’s that Cal tried to make those disappear in the first place.


And then on top of that has been the cryptic way in which he’s talked about one of his six (SIX!) five-star freshmen recruits.

Jarred Vanderbilt injured his foot early in the preseason and hadn’t played a game up until the aforementioned loss to South Carolina. It had been Vanderbilt’s third injury to the same foot. That is a true worry for a player seemingly-destined to be less than a calendar year away from having a seven-annual income.

Kentucky had needed him. And people had seen reports of him continuously practicing and dressing for games.

But Vanderbilt still wasn’t seeing the court, and Calipari was being uncharacteristically and mostly-indirectly criticizing Vanderbilt’s inability to play.

“I’d like for him to give me more than what I would’ve gotten today because I didn’t see him all day,” Calipari said.

It was like there was more to the story. Who knows?

“The problem with being injured when you’re on my teams, I really spend no time with you,” Calipari said. “Sometimes I forget names. Like I forget who (Vanderbilt) is. Because I’ve gotta focus on the guys I’m coaching right now. They’ve gotta get healthy and be ready to come back and be ready to go. Jarred is the same.”

He forgets his players’ names? Come on.

Calipari is always a master of the media. His press conferences are always entertaining.

But this year, it’s just been different. Different than in any other season.

It’s been over the top.


The most curious case of all has been David Padgett. The poor guy got thrown into an absolute grease fire.

So, of course, his team floundered around for awhile while the players acclimated to a coaching style that is, by many accounts, far more relaxed than the style of their coaching predecessor, Rick Pitino.

The feeling I got from Pitino before his firing was that if Donovan Mitchell, currently one of the NBA’s best rookies, left for the pros after last season, it was going to be an uphill climb for this season’s championship hopes.

No surprise there. Mitchell is a star. Any team would hurt if they lost a kid like Mitchell.

Obviously, this was before Pitino got gifted Brian Bowen, the highly-touted recruit whose family member, we later learned, allegedly agreed to receive money to come to Louisville, which, in part, may have ended up being the final nail in Pitino’s Cardinal Coffin.

Since then, Padgett has had to do a dance of trying to be himself to his team, while still trying to cling to many Pitino’s championship principles.

Now, many Pitino loyalists, who are still bitter about the way “Slick Rick” was dismissed are taking out the team’s struggles on Padgett.

“The players aren’t listening to him.”

“Padgett’s lost this team. This would’ve never (have) happened to Rick.”

We got it, Rick-backers, winning trumps all, even multiple NCAA violations.

Duly noted.

But, for the rest of us that think Pitino’s firing was justified, even if we admired his coaching ability (I know I did), there was really no other way to bring on a brand-new coach that had any sort of resume.

UofL had two weeks to figure this out, for crying out loud. What were they supposed to do?

Had Louisville brought on a seasoned, but recently-fired coach, that coach isn’t going to just agree to a one-year deal. And even if they do, what if they had success? Then, Louisville would’ve had to stick with the guy, a guy they had all but a handful of days to truly vet.

The timing was terrible.

Still, Padgett is taking a team that likely wasn’t destined for the Final Four and, as of this writing, has gone the whole season with just a handful of losses – none of them to teams outside the AP Top 25.

It’s been a fascinating watch.


And, alone at the top, probably sipping on a Mai Tai and cackling at all the other nonsense going on south of West Lafayette, is Matt-freaking-Painter. Who knew he’d be the one with the stress meter, relatively speaking, at zero?

What an unusual college hoops landscape, indeed.


Editor’s Note | January 2017

When we debuted Extol Magazine in February 2015, the reception from the community was humbling. The Extol Team was overwhelmed by the positive feedback and support from businesses and individuals alike. Today, as we continue to expand in myriad ways – more pages, more staffers, more copies distributed, more cities on our delivery routes – we’re also seeking more input from readers and advertising partners. What appeals to you? What doesn’t? What stories would you like to see in our pages?

Thus far, the number one request has been to expand our coverage of health and fitness, so we thought we’d go one step further, which is how this inaugural issue of Extol Sports came to fruition.

Inside, you will find features that pertain to health, fitness and/or sports. For instance, you can read about New Albany standout Romeo Langford, a young man who is as good off the court as he is on it or check out the so-called athleisure trend featuring the ladies of B.YOU. We’ve featured Brownies “The Shed” Grille & Bar in a section designated as the 19th Hole, primarily because it’s a great spot to watch your favorite teams on TV (and the food is really good, too). WAVE 3 News Anchor John Boel shares how training has saved his life as well as his workout regimen. Writer JD Dotson shares some of his favorite places to run for veterans and newbies. Inner Spring Yoga owner Carrie Klaus kicks off our Pro Tip section with real-world advice that’s beneficial for everyone. And we’re thrilled to have Zach McCrite (aka The Big EZ) on the Extol Team. You’ll find his column, The Final Say, on the final page of each issue.

Extol Magazine will always remain Southern Indiana focused. Extol Sports will too, but we’re going to cross the Ohio a bit more, as you’ll see with articles like our regular features on Thanks to our advertising partners – including new ones like Norton Sports Health – Extol Sports will remain a free monthly magazine. When you’re finished with it, please consider recycling your copy or, better yet, pass it on to someone else.

Thanks for picking us up! We’ll be back with a new issue in February.

Yours truly,
Angie Fenton
Editor in Chief


Romeo, O Romeo

New Albany Standout Romeo Langford is known for dazzling opponents and fans with his on-court skills as well as for keeping his emotions in check. The 6-foot-5 junior also has a reputation for being reserved and humble, despite his growing fame. During an interview in between school and practice, the teen let his guard down – for a moment – and let Extol Sports get a glimpse into his world.

Story by Angie Fenton | Photos by Steve Squall | Art Direction by Adam Kleinert

r1 r2

At 6:48 a.m. every weekday, Tim Langford finds a quiet space at Humana where he works and waits for his phone to ring, which it does at 6:50 a.m. “Morning, Dad,” says his son Romeo, right on time every day.

“It makes me feel good, makes my day,” said Tim. “Every morning before he goes to school, he calls me for five minutes. We talk about school – we aren’t talking about basketball – we talk about the classes, we talk about how you feeling, have a good day. … Once he gets out of r4school, we’ll talk about basketball.”

Even though thousands of people from around the country are interested in their son – especially when it comes to where the New Albany High School basketball star will play college ball – Tim and Sabrina Langford are more interested in raising Romeo to be a good person, just like they’ve done with his sisters Tisha and Tiffany, and ensuring he also has the opportunity to be a “normal” teen as much as is possible.

“I think it goes by setting an example,” said Sabrina. “How we hold ourselves in public. He watches me a lot. He knows who I am, he knows my movements, the way I respond to people and interact with people. We never promoted being a showboat. We never promoted being arrogant. … I think it just goes by setting examples as parents and not just telling and talking but showing them.”

Despite the growing interest in his son’s athletic future, Tim maintains the focus is on how Romeo fares in the classroom. “Make sure you don’t slip on that, I tell my son.”

That’s the way the Langfords have raised Romeo, said New Albany Boys Basketball  Head Coach Bill Shannon. “Education first and the basketball will take care of itself. He’s grounded and goal-oriented and doesn’t share or show a lot of emotion. Teachers like him, his teammates like him, he’s just a really good kid,” and his parents are to credit for that as well as how Romeo reacts to opponents, Shannon added.

“I always taught him (to) just play the game. Keep control,” said Tim. “Other players and opponents don’t know how to take you. That’s one of his advantages.”

r3It’s common knowledge that Romeo is uber talented on the basketball court. He solidified that truth Dec. 15 at New Castle Fieldhouse in a nationally-televised game against No. 1 ranked La Lumiere (Ind.) by scoring 40 points, including a one-handed dunk over La Lumiere’s 6-feet-11, 226-pound forward Jared Jackson that made Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays of the day. The Bulldogs lost the matchup 85- 63, but that hasn’t stopped experts and fans alike from touting Romeo’s skills and what the future potentially holds as well as the high school junior’s demeanor off the court.

“He’s still very quiet, though I don’t think he’s that quiet around his friends,” Shannon laughed. “He’s just a normal kid then, … but in terms of how he’s handled all of the accolades he’s received? He’s not normal at all. He’s way above.”

Mom and Dad see it another way. The way Romeo handles the kudos and the fame have a lot to do with their faith (“I know the Lord’s got him,” said Sabrina) as well as gratitude.

“It’s a ‘wow moment,’ all of this. I don’t even know if words can describe it. It’s hard to believe you have that many people talking about him. It touches my heart just to know that the things that Romeo is doing is making somebody happy. He’s putting a little bit of happiness in somebody’s life at the moment. That touches my heart.” Sabrina.

“I like the smile he puts on kids’ faces,” added Tim. “They’re the ones who look up to him. They get a joy. … He doesn’t get tired of signing autographs and taking photos. He knows it’s a gift to them, and that makes me happy and him, too.”

It does, Romeo confirmed. “It (fame and attention) was kind of weird in the beginning, but now I know it comes with what I’m doing and … my parents have helped me with that.”

Is it pretty cool when younger kids ask if you’ll pose for a photo? “Yeah,” Romeo said, dropping his head toward the floor and shyly smiling.

Some fans are in awe of the lack of emotion the 17-year-old displays during games. That, too, is a credit to his parents. Several years ago after a referee made a call Romeo didn’t agree with, he expressed his displeasure by getting upset and throwing his hands up in the air. Once the game was over, his mother quietly let her son know she wasn’t thrilled to see “Mr. Handy” – as she called it – come out. “My dad’s like, showing emotion and talking (back) shows the other opponent that they have you. So, I just keep the same face. … I have the emotion thing under control for the most part,” Romeo said, though on the rare occasion he slips “my mom will let me know she didn’t like seeing Mr. Handy.”

Behind closed doors when he’s around his friends and basketball has been put to bed for the moment, Romeo is known for being funny. “I am pretty funny, at least I think so,” he laughed. His closest pals also know he cares for them. “They know I really care. Even though I get a lot of attention, I try to have them involved in what I’m doing, too.”

As a student, “I take that pretty seriously, it’s not a joke,” said Romeo. Math is his favorite subject ; English is his least (not that you can tell from speaking with him). In his free time, he likes to play video games and pool on his smartphone and enjoys listening to Michael Jackson. And, on occasion, he picks up the trumpet, an instrument he used to play regularly before basketball took over. His favorite tune to play? “Arabian Dance.”

Even though he’s aware of the continued lists and honors he’s racking up on the court – “It’s nice to see, but I don’t dwell on stuff like that” – Romeo has one goal: “Just do my best and if we’re good enough, win the state championship.”

And then after that? Romeo, Romeo, where art thou going, Romeo? He shifts his feet, wraps his arms around himself, smiles and pulls on his lower lip. “I don’t know yet.”r5

You have plenty of time to figure it out.

“Yeah,” Romeo laughs before standing up, thanking this writer for her time, fist-bumping Coach Shannon and walking out the door.


What’s Your Favorite Thing About Romeo?

Fifteen fans weigh in

I’ve been watching Indiana high school basketball for 26 years, and I’ve been watching New Albany basketball for 26 years. Romeo Langford isn’t just one of the top players in Indiana ever but one of the best in the entire country! His 46 points in a single game against Southport in the semi-state at that level for a sophomore is the best single game performance I’ve ever seen. The scary thing is as good as a player as he is, he is even a better person that only comes around once in a lifetime. –David Bohne

In our small town of New Albany, basketball is huge! The people here have several local college teams to pull for, and most of us get a little crazy with the love we have for our teams. This love also runs deep when it comes to high school basketball, one of the best sports movies – Hoosiers – tells the story of how deep our love of high school basketball runs in our state. Then, in comes Romeo, that once in a lifetime talent that causes even the smallest basketball fan to sit up and take notice. There hasn’t been a buzz like this in our region since Damon Bailey came through and caused countless games to sell out in minutes. (Romeo) has single-handedly pushed New Albany basketball to not only be known state-wide but also country-wide. I was talking to a coworker a few weeks ago about the school Romeo may choose. We joked as each of us imagined him sitting at a table and picking our teams hat and saying, “I’ve decided to play for…” Then, if it’s our team, we could jump and shout because we got Romeo. Then we talked about how great it will be in as little as four years as we sit on our couches watching the NBA commissioner walk out and say “With the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft XXXX takes Romeo Langford!” The excitement and pride of knowing a young man from small town Indiana who worked hard and made his dreams – and our dreams of winning another championship –come true. Thanks, Romeo and good luck! –Brian Huff

Romeo is smooth as silk on the court and shows his emotion with his game. Doesn’t beat on his chest and yell because he did something special. Great kid. –Joe Byrd

Back when I played for New Albany, Romeo was just a kid in our Bulldog Youth Camps and all of us used to fight over who would get him on our individual teams because even back then we knew what we all know now: He’s special. –Dylan McDaniel

With all the hype he’s getting, he’s remaining humble. For a kid his age, that says a lot about how grounded he his. –Tommy Coppage

Romeo is a very humble future superstar. –Kevin Summers

He does everything a person can do on a basketball court exceptionally well. But not everyone who has his kind of talent is so beloved. The difference with him is that he doesn’t let all the attention and notoriety go to his head. He is not a guy who gets in arguments with people out on the floor, he has never talked back to an official or gotten into it with another player, he doesn’t throw tantrums when things aren’t going well. He just stays quiet, keeps his focus and does all the great things he does with the utmost dignity and class. –Mick Chandler

The excitement and buzz that Romeo brings to the area is amazing. He is a great role model that my son Preston can look up too. Everybody knows how special this kid is. He doesn’t get a big head, and he truly appreciates his fans of all ages. –Jason Adams

I’ve been a fan of high school basketball for more than fifty years, and Romeo Langford is without a doubt the greatest high school basketball player I’ve ever seen. His basketball skills and his athleticism are on a level that’s higher than the vast majority. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor, whether it’s taking the ball to the basket, hitting a mid-range floater, burying an NBA-range three-pointer, or dunking on a 6’11” prep school player. Romeo has the ability to take over a game. In addition to his athleticism and skills level, I’m impressed with Romeo’s demeanor during games. He always plays under control with poise, composure, calmness and respect. His main focus is helping his team win basketball games. Romeo Langford plays basketball the way it was meant to be played by putting forth a big effort every game and by letting his superior basketball skills do his talking on the court. –David Condra

With all the talent he has and the way some teams play defense on him, I have never seen him show any emotions or try to show anybody up. Romeo is a class act. –Randy Fenwick

Romeo is one of the quietest, hardworking, humble young student athletes you’ll ever meet. He is destined for greatness. –Jackie Love

Romeo is a once in a lifetime basketball player/ New Albany has had many great basketball players, but there will never be another Romeo. What makes him even more special is his on the court demeanor. He will dunk on you, or score 50 on you and won’t say a word or crack a smile. He will get beat up, pushed around and triple-teamed and won’t say a word. That’s Romeo! He’s also all about his team; it’s all team first with him. Off the court, he’s a complete class act. Every kid in Southern Indiana wants to play basketball and be Romeo. He has been great to my kids; Colt and Cash idolize him. He comes to their birthday parties, signs autographs, takes pictures and simply encourages them. So much good to say about this kid, but it all starts at home. Tim and Sabrina Langford are amazing parents and built him a strong foundation. Romeo will never forget where he came from. –Mike Hardin

He makes dunking on people bigger than him and hitting 30-footers with a hand in his face look effortless. Afterwards, he shows zero emotion. No stare-downs, no flexing, not even a smile. That’s what I love most about Romeo Langford. –James Craig

Romeo has a pure love for the game. He is an idol to all the kids in our area. He sets great examples on and off the court. Great young man. –Daryl White

This young man has brought our small, beloved school to a national spotlight that we’ve never seen before. Thank you, Romeo, from all of us fans and parents. You are such an amazing kid all around and a great influence and role model for our children. Go Bulldogs! Go Romeo! We all love you! –Chris Sweet


Southern Indiana Hoops

Powered by WXVW 1450/96.1

By Matt Denison | Photos by Jason Applegate and Darryl Middleton

There’s no better Hoosier State tradition than high school hoops — and there’s no question that basketball this season in Southern Indiana is strong.

New Albany junior Romeo Langford’s rise to national prominence has served as the area’s top headline in recent months. Following the Bulldogs’ memorable state championship journey last season, interest from fans, media and recruiters for games at The Doghouse has set the tone for this hoops-crazed region.

“Interest in our program has always been fantastic,” said New Albany coach Jim Shannon, now in his 19th year as the Bulldogs’ mentor. “But after our state title, it’s been mayhem around here. A lot of it has to do with the attention that Romeo brings; but our team as a whole is playing quite well, and that’s brought in the fans, too.”

Langford, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, is drawing attention and scholarship offers from nearly every college basketball powerhouse in the country, including Kentuckiana’s three major programs: Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville.

“It’s been fascinating to see all of the interest in Romeo,” Shannon added. “The number of fans that stick around after the games — even at road games — to get an autograph or picture with him has been truly amazing.”

The regular season will unwind in February and give way to postseason basketball madness in March. While Romeo and Company have the spotlight, there’s a slate of Southern Indiana teams that are primed to make noise in the state tournament.


Henryville is in the midst of a terrific season, keyed by the duo of senior Braxton Robertson and junior Nick Walker. It’s the program’s best start in more than 70 years, according to coach Jared Hill.

The Hornets opened the season with a 50-47 win over rival Silver Creek and turned in a solid effort at Jeffersonville’s Throckmorton Memorial Tournament during the holidays.

“Our bar is set really high for us (the rest of the season),” Hill said. “Our confidence is high, everybody has bought in and we’re focused. If things pan out, this might be one of the best (Henryville) teams ever.”


A young Providence team led by a young coach surprised the area last season when it surged all the way to the Class 2-A semistate at Richmond before falling 70-62 to Indianapolis Howe.

“I thought last year would be a building year for this season,” third-year coach Andrew Grantz said. “The postseason experience last year gave our guys a lot of confidence in their abilities. It helped us set our standards higher with what we’re capable of achieving.”

With seven seniors on the roster, Providence began the 2016-17 season with the second-best start in school history, including a 53-50 win over Jeffersonville on Jan. 14. It was the program’s first win over the Red Devils in nine seasons.

“It (was) a really special win for the community and the school,” said Grantz, whose team could rematch with Henryville in the Class 2-A sectional at Crawford County.

January’s Top Players 



“He’s got loads of potential and is just beginning to scratch the surface. He can play multiple positions for us. The sky is the limit for him as a high school player, and he’s got great potential for the next level as well.” — Highlanders’ coach Todd Sturgeon



“He’s undoubtedly one of the best leaders I’ve coached. He wants to excel in every aspect of his life, and is a 4.0 (grade-point average) student. On the basketball floor, he doesn’t just affect games by scoring, but finds other ways to help the team win.” — Pioneers’ coach Andrew Grantz



“He’s really developed into quite an offensive threat. He consistently leads our team each night in scoring and, generally, assists. He’s become more of a complete player during his junior year.” — Red Devil’s coach Joe Luce



“(Cameron) leads us in many statistical categories, but his most important ability is leadership. In my 14 years at Silver Creek, he’s by far the best leader I’ve ever had, both on and off the basketball court.” — Dragons’ coach Brandon Hoffman



“Going on three years now, he’s led us in many statistical categories. The impact that he’s had on the game can never really just be measured by statistics, but he certainly does put up big numbers.” — Bulldogs’ coach Jim Shannon



“If things aren’t going well, he’ll get the ball and go score. He’s prepared to put us on hr3his shoulders. His teammates, the kids and teachers at school — everyone likes and respects him.” — Hornets’ coach Jared Hill

February Games to Watch