Romeo Langford‘s commitment to Indiana last month was met with great fanfare. Hoosiers fans celebrated the high-profile recruit’s decision to play college basketball at his home-state school.
According to a report from The Washington Post’s Will Hobson, Langford landing at Indiana was a culmination of many forces at work — including the influence of adidas:
In early 2017, according to Pitino and Adidas sources, the company won a much less-publicized recruiting battle with Nike and Under Armour for Langford, whose father had made it known he wanted to run his own youth basketball team featuring his son. Adidas, Nike and Under Armour each operate basketball leagues, which they use to develop relationships with high school prospects they hope to sign to endorsement deals if they reach the NBA, and steer top talent to their sponsored college teams.
Indiana is an adidas-affiliated program, as is Louisville. Former Cardinals men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino told Hobson he expressed interest in Langford. Pitino said he pressed adidas officials to go hard after Langford, so Pitino could have a chance to offer the shooting guard a scholarship.
“They knew that Nike and Under Armour were going to make a run for him,” Pitino said. “I didn’t want him going to Nike or Under Armour … because then, he would’ve gone to Kentucky or somewhere else. … I would’ve had no chance.”
Langford is a 5-star recruit, according to the 247Sports composite. He’s the No. 2 shooting guard in the nation and the No. 1 player in the state of Indiana for the Class of 2018. He chose the Hoosiers over Vanderbilt and Kansas; Vanderbilt is sponsored by Nike, and Kansas is sponsored by adidas.