Romeo Langford’s commitment ceremony started at 7 p.m. At 7:30, Langford’s father placed three caps at the podium in front of thousands of fans. We hadn’t even heard from the top uncommitted recruit in the nation yet. Things of this nature were circling Twitter:
Clicked on the Romeo Langford live stream and his pastor went on a rant comparing him to Abraham Lincoln. I'm out.
— Beneath The Paint (@BeneathThePaint) April 30, 2018
Yes, Langford’s pastor compared him to Abe Lincoln before announcing where he would play basketball for precisely one season, after which Langford will head to the NBA to make millions of dollars. We were about 3/4 of the way through a ceremony that would end with Langford, of course, choosing his home-state Hoosiers.
The ceremony at New Albany High School, which I watched, along with over 10,500 other people on a live stream from my apartment, featured four different speakers not named Romeo Langford, a pep rally and a post-announcement press conference. The stream was almost an hour long. Eighty-five reporters were in attendance. It was completely ridiculous. And that’s what made it awesome.
“I’ve been asked why we’re having this in the high school and why we’re doing it this way,” Tim Langford, Romeo’s dad, said at the ceremony. “I believe in doing it my way. Do it your own way, and not nobody else’s way. We could have easily put it on a video or on social media, the easy way out. Nah. We didn’t wanna do that. I mentioned one time, let’s do it on the river, but Romeo said, ‘No Dad, we ain’t gonna do that.’ We could’ve easily done it home, but with the crowd here I don’t know if everyone woulda had a parking spot. So we didn’t do that.
“We wanted to take the time and do something special. Do something special for the fans that have been supporting him all four years in his high school career. So that’s why we decided to do it at the high school.”
The fact that so many people showed up to celebrate where one kid decided to play college basketball is pretty awesome, actually.
Those people at New Albany High School, combined with the 10,500 watching with me on Facebook, were hardly all of the audience for this decision. SO MANY PEOPLE cared about this. Try telling the Langfords this shouldn’t be a giant spectacle. They didn’t just have people show up at this event. They’ve had fans scream Romeo’s name for years and reporters ask for years where Romeo would end up. You’re free to argue that such a decision shouldn’t be so important, but the interest in the ceremony would disagree.
It wasn’t just one family begging everyone to worship their son. It was a pastor saying how much he appreciated this high school kid who willingly signs autographs after his high school basketball game for over an hour to send people home happy. So what if he compared him to Lincoln? If your son, or one of your close family friends, is projected to be a top-10 pick in next year’s NBA draft, you deserve to enjoy the ride.
And that’s not even to speak of Romeo Langford, the reason for the whole dang ceremony. He thanked his family, friends and coaches in a speech that lasted 70 seconds, and announced he’d be attending Indiana.
— Travis Ragsdale (@TravisRagsdale) April 30, 2018
The crowd went wild. I have no particular relationship or affinity for Indiana or Indiana basketball, but I wish I could’ve been there. It seemed like a heck of a way to spend a Monday night.