Adidas Gauntlet: Feeding frenzy for five-star Langford
DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- Five-star sophomore shooting guard Romeo Langford was the attraction, but far from the only standout at the Duncanville Fieldhouse at the Adidas Gauntlet on Sunday.
LANGFORD A SMOOTH OPERATOR
No player at the Adidas Gauntlet brought out the coaches like Eric Gordon All-Stars shooting guard Romeo Langford. A 6-foot-4 scorer from New Albany, he played to big time coaches all weekend long.
Langford didn't disappoint, averaging 23.3 points and eight rebounds per game with only five turnovers in four games. only five turnovers. Ranked No. 14 in the class of of 2018, Langford is usually a terrific three-point shooter but was off in Duncanville making only 4 of 20. Those struggles only make his overall 55.9 percent field goal shooting that much more impressive and illustrated his efficiency.
On Sunday, Langford drew Kansas' Bill Self, North Carolina's Roy Williams and Xavier's Chris Mack along with assistants from Duke, Kentucky, Purdue and Indiana. UCLA's Steve Alford chased him earlier in the weekend and Louisville -- who could not be in Duncanville due to self imposed sanctions -- has been quite active.
Only 16 years old, Langford exudes confidence and felt prepared.
"I've put in a lot of work in the off season and I don't always expect to go out and score 40 plus points or anything like that, but it's not surprising I played well. I felt that overall I did pretty well and the team went three and one so that's good."
Langford said that the attention sometimes trips him out but he's in no rush.
"I don't even know what I want to do or how I want to go about any of this yet."
HURT SO GOOD
At some point in August or early September, we'll put together an initial ranking of the class of 2019. Expect 6-foot-8 forward Matthew Hurt to be there and expect him to be quite high.
Playing in the 17U division with D1 Minnesota, Hurt took things to an entirely new level on Sunday, scoring 27 points while Roy Williams, Self and many big-time assistants looked on. He hit deep threes, attacked off the dribble and scored with athleticism. The 15-year-old averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over the weekend and cemented himself as an elite prospect.
On Saturday, we reported that home state Minnesota -- where his older brother Michael Hurt is headed -- had offered but Hurt told us on Sunday that the Gophers had not technically offered. However, Iowa and Iowa State have and it's easy to imagine many more coming.
BOYD BACKS IT UP
As a sophomore, 6-foot-5 wing Kiyon Boyd helped led Washington (D.C.) Woodson to an undefeated record. Playing big-time summer ball for the first time, the No. 26 ranked player in 2018 got off to a slow start with Team Loaded Virginia.
By Sunday morning, though, the powerful and aggressive wing had fully settled in. Only being 15 years old he's got the frame of a college sophomore, plays with toughness and makes things happen on both ends of the floor. He finished his weekend with 19 points, nine rebounds and win.
"It's my first time playing in something like the Adidas Gauntlet," said Boyd. "I'm getting used to playing with my team and against this level of competition for the first time. I was a little nervous on Friday night but feel like I settled in."
On the recruiting front, Boyd has offers from Georgetown, Louisville, Cincinnati, Hofstra, James Madison, Towson and Bowling Green while Xavier, Miami and Kansas State are all watching closely.
SUNDAY QUICK HITTERS
Four-star power forward Alex Reese finished strong in Duncanville. The No. 51 player in 2017, Reese finished with 17 points, 17 rebounds and five steals in his Team Carroll squad's 61-60 loss to Exum Elite. He holds offers from Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Alabama and all of them watched at some point during the weekend.
Exum Elite shooting guard Trevin Knell is one of the better shooters on the Gauntlet Circuit. He made 5 of 11 against Team Carroll and was 16-for-35 on the weekend. With 6-foot-5 size, the three-star prospect is going to get looks on the upper-mid to high-major level.
If it feels like leather, then let it fly, so says the play of two of the Gauntlet's top scorers. Three-star shooting guard Jordan Usher of the Atlanta Celtics leads with 24.5 per game while MBA Hoops Nick Weatherspoon is right behind at 21 per game. Both have athleticism, good size and confidence with wild shot selection. Usher shot just 33-for-84 from the field while only registering three assists to 12 turnovers. Weatherspoon was only 30-for-83 and had 10 assists to 21 turnovers. Both are excellent rebounders -- 9.3 per game per Usher and 5.5 for Weatherspoon -- but they'll enhance their status by realizing that sometimes less is more.
Where will the recruitment of three-star Sasha Stefanovic of Eric Gordon go? The tough two guard was excellent with 23 points and a game-winning three on Sunday morning. But, he also had some struggles (like a 1-for-12 game on Saturday). Currently, Indiana State, Evansville, IUPUI, Ball State, Columbia, Brown and Holy Cross have offered but some bigger fish are watching closely.
For D1 Minnesota, three-star power forward Jericho Sims and Rivals150 point guard McKinley Wright had good weekends. An athletic and mobile four man, Sims needs more aggression but his long term upside got him offers from Kansas State, Minnesota, Iowa State and Xavier. A steady floor general, Wright added Minnesota and Xavier offers as well.
Imagine an even mix of L.A. Laker Julius Randle and Butler's Roosevelt Jones you have 2018 four-star Zion Williamson. The southpaw is strong, explosive and doesn't fit any conventional positions. But, he's quite productive and the No. 33 ranked player in 2018 now holds offers from Clemson -- Brad Brownell followed him all over the Gauntlet -- Florida, Iowa State, Georgia, Wofford and Tulane.
Arkansas landed a good fit in 6-foot-6 forward Darious Hall. Hall exudes toughness and effort that are impressive. He plays with great intensity, battles on both ends and looked good in a 20 and 13 effort on Sunday.
Those into stat scouting will say that North Carolina-bound Rechon Black was a disappointment at the Gauntlet relative to his No. 13 ranking in 2018. That ranking could be a little high right now and Black didn't play great. However, seeing a 6-foot-6'ish kid who can play the point with floor vision, athleticism and some intangibles, that No. 13 ranking may not be too high when he gets to 20 or 21 years old. Despite relatively lackluster numbers (8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game) he's one that we'll stick with for a while.