Tag Archives: romeo langford

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Exhale: The Romeo Era Has Begun In Bloomington

By Zach McCrite

Follow @BigEZ on Twitter

 

“I’ve long subscribed to the theory of ‘the lower the expectations, the happier you will be.’ ”

 

If we are fans of the same team – you and I – then, I am the fellow fan that you hate.

 

I am the fan that will temper all excitement and expectations when my team’s season starts or before they have a big game.

Why? Because I’ve long subscribed to the theory of “the lower the expectations, the happier you will be.”

But here I am, watching Indiana University men’s basketball (full disclosure: I’m a fan) … and I’m getting pumped.

I went to Assembly Hall for the season opener for the Hoosiers. Now, I’m well aware IU was going up against a completely undermanned, well-below-average opponent in Chicago State. It was also election night for, arguably, the most contentious midterm election cycle in our nation’s history. Needless to say, the Hall wasn’t sold out.

But, you could still feel an energy in the building not felt since Indiana hung a Big Ten championship banner after their last regular season game in 2016.

Stop me if you’ve heard this guy’s name before: Romeo Langford.

His 6-foot, 6-inch, 19-going-on-25 frame was the curiosity of almost every one of the 17,222 crimson-clad spectators. It was almost a nervous energy.

What will Romeo do? Will he dominate? Will he be a passive freshman? Will he still be the same hardly-stoppable force he was when he was hanging 30+ points per night down on Vincennes Street in New Albany the last four seasons?

For the first 7:42 of the game, he didn’t do much. He missed one field goal attempt and one free throw. He had one point.

Langford came off the court, got some instruction from Archie Miller, and gave the same stoic demeanor that New Albany head coach Jim Shannon knew well, even if the Hoosier diehards in attendance, and maybe even Miller himself, weren’t quite sure what the expression meant.

Because, let’s be honest, it was the same stoicism fans drooled over when he scored a NAHS record 63 points at Jennings County earlier this year, and the same stoicism we all experienced when Warren Central’s buzzer-beater in the IHSAA Final Four sent Romeo inside the locker room to tear off his now-retired No. 1 jersey for the last time as a Bulldog. Rarely had he worn his on-court emotions outwardly.

Surely, we weren’t going to see a passive Romeo Langford at the collegiate level, right? Nah. Expectations were a little higher this time around, remember?

And, it was at that moment, almost midway through his first half of basketball in an Indiana uniform that I remembered that Langford is a kid. A baby, even. It’s his first official collegiate basketball game. He’s eight months removed from playing in gyms as small as 2,100 (even if those gyms sold an amount of tickets that would make any fire marshal wince) and perhaps just eight months away from signing a contract that’ll have him playing basketball for $2,100 per minute.

Life comes at you fast. But maybe not any faster than it’s come at Romeo. It was at that moment I lowered my expectations for him and for the Hoosiers.

Not because I thought the season was going to be a failure. Just because we all forget that these are kids that were barely old enough to vote on the recent election night.

Perhaps something similar happened to Romeo during his brief respite from the game. Before you knew it, Langford had checked back in after a quick breather, and everyone who had seen him play on the red-glazed New Albany hardwood saw the same kid lighting up his new home floor – Branch McCracken Court at Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall, to be precise. Bulldog red traded in for Hoosier crimson.

A jumper from the baseline here. A slash-and-gash, coast-to-coast transition bucket there. Before you could blink, Romeo had 17 first half points.

And it was then that Southern Indiana fans who have hitched their wagon to Romeo after watching him in high school could release some of that nervousness.

Let’s be honest, for the diehard IU fans that live in the reach of this publication, there is a connection to the kid. He’s magnetic. He’s humble. It’s obvious his parents have done a superb job on him. And I’m sure his parents are also aware that most of Southern Indiana have adopted Romeo as their own, whether Sabrina and Tim like it or not.

So, like good parents, everyone held their breath a little as Romeo started his collegiate basketball career, however short it may be.

All for nothing. The jumpers. The slashing-and-gashing. The humility. The stoicism. It’s all still there. And so is his game even as his comfort in the college basketball world increases daily.

Exhale.

And, for the record, he’s changing me. With every subsequent game, win or lose, my usual expectation-limiting is starting to dissipate. My excitement beginning to percolate.

Before too long, I might be the fellow IU fan you don’t hate anymore.

Talented baker
Lydia Sprigler.

Letter From the Editor | June/July 2018

By Angie Fenton   

The Extol Team is thrilled to have Lydia Sprigler as the subject of our featured cover story. The winner of MESA’s Kid Baking Contest, Lydia wowed the judges with her sweet skills and will be the guest of honor at our launch party, which is 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. June 21 at MESA, 216 Pearl St. in New Albany. Attendees of the free, family-friendly event will get a chance to enjoy Lydia’s baking and other appetizers at this edition of our signature event. We hope you’ll join us. By the way, if you have a budding young baker in your family, Food Network contacted MESA KIDS (coming soon to New Albany) and asked for help finding talented kids ages 8 to 13 to cast for season 5 of the network’s Kids Baking Championship show. You can find more information at www. mesakidscookingschool.com.

Talented baker Lydia Sprigler.

Talented baker
Lydia Sprigler.

In this issue, we remember and celebrate the life of Bekki Jo Schneider, who made Derby Dinner Playhouse a must-visit Southern Indiana institution. We are grateful to Jon Huffman and Arts-Louisville.com for allowing us to share his tribute to Bekki Jo.

It has been enjoyable watching basketball standout Romeo Langford mature into a young man who is preparing to head to Indiana University. We caught up with the Hoosier for a quick Q&A and photo shoot at The Pepin Mansion, where he, once again, displayed why he’s a fan favorite on and off the court.

Romeo Langford with fans Elliott Baker, 7, and his sister Eve Baker, 5.

Romeo Langford with fans Elliott
Baker, 7, and his sister Eve Baker, 5.

Amid the articles and columns about summer fun, food, exploring Southern Indiana (and beyond), sports, fitness, fashion, home renovation and philanthropy, you’ll also find several though-provoking first-person pieces. Zach McCrite shares an honest account of his recent 80-pound weight loss. Ray Lucas imparts the wisdom he learned from his father. Guest contributor Amy Gesenhues gives a glimpse of her family’s 100-year garden. And Miranda McDonald details a recent trip that includes coming to terms with what it means to be divorced.

Many thanks to our advertising partners for their support, which allows us to remain a free publication. And, all of us at Extol greatly appreciate you, our readers.

 

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ONE MORE ROUND WITH ROMEO

romeo-3BY ANGIE FENTON

Photos by Christian Watson shot at The Pepin Mansion, 1003 E. Main St. in New Albany • thepepinmansion.com

NEW ALBANY BASKETBALL STAR SHARES HIS FAVORITE MUSIC, OFF-COURT COLLEGIATE PLANS AND ADVICE FOR YOUNG FANS

THERE IS NO QUESTION about the most popular issue Extol has ever published. A year and a half later, we still get requests for the January 2017 Extol Sports edition featuring Romeo Langford. In fact, we recently shipped a couple dozen copies to a middle school coach based in Kentucky (his players love Romeo) and even dropped off a solo one to a local who asked for more but we could only part with one because we have so few in our reserves.

Yes, the New Albany graduate is revered for his prowess on the basketball court, but he’s also beloved for how he treats his fans and the way he conducts himself with humility. “He doesn’t seek the spotlight – it seeks him,” Romeo’s high school coach Jim Shannon has told the media more than once.

When the 18-year-old and his family held a public event to announce his long-awaited decision to commit to Indiana University, more than 2,500 fans and 85 credentialed members of the media packed the New Albany High School gymnasium.

“I was really surprised,” admitted Romeo’s father Tim Langford. “It wasn’t our intent to draw so many people. We just wanted to give back to the fans and let them be a part of the decision.”

Now that it’s been made and his son will soon head to Bloomington, “We’re ready,” Tim continued. “We’ve been looking forward to it (and are) excited. It’s the next chapter.”

Before he turns the next page and begins his collegiate career, Romeo sat down with us for a quick Q&A at The Pepin Mansion, where he also took the time to pose for photos with two young fans.

This issue of Extol is dedicated, in part, to kids. What advice do you have for the young fans who look up to you?

Follow your dreams. Work hard at what you want to do because there’s someone out there who wants to do what you want to (accomplish), too.

Romeo Langford with his father Tim Langford.

Romeo Langford with his father Tim Langford.

What will study at Indiana University?

Not sure. I’ll do general (studies) until I figure out what to do.

What was your favorite high school class?

Math, especially algebra.

What was your least favorite class?

Government.

How do you spend your rare moments of downtime?

Playing video games.

What’s your favorite music to listen to?

I listen to all types but my favorite is Michael.

Michael Jackson? Can you dance like him?

(Laughs.) Nah.

Not even a little bit? No moonwalk?

(Laughs and shakes head.) Nah, I can’t do that.

What’s your favorite Michael Jackson song?romeo-2

“Another Part of Me.”

When is the last time you picked up the trumpet? (Note: Romeo’s Dad used to play the instrument too.)

I played at my church for the (2017) Christmas Day service.

Aside from your parents, who have been the biggest mentors to you?

(Family friend) Jonathan Jeanty, (trainer) Coach Deion Lee, (off-court trainer) Brian Fig and (trainer) Parrish Bryant.

Will you and your father continue your daily morning routine of talking on the phone before school?

(Chuckles.) Probably won’t call him at 6:50 in the morning (any more) … but I will call him.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the NBA.


screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-5-01-16-pmBY THE NUMBERS

3,002: Number of points Romeo Langford scored during his high school basketball career.

264 of 294: Number of votes Romeo received to be named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball.

9.9: Number of rebounds Romeo averaged during his senior year of high school, along with 35.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3 steals per game

1: Number of basketball courts named in honor of the Hoosier. Floyd County Parks and Recreation decided to dedicate Romeo Langford Basketball Court at Kevin Hammersmith Memorial Park, 4400 Lewis Endres Parkway in New Albany, “in honor of (Romeo), following his historic high school basketball career at New Albany High School and positive influence off- the-court as a role model to Floyd County’s youth.”

35,800+: Number of people following Romeo (@yeahyeah_22) on Twitter