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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, July 13, 2017 1:00 am

Colleges targeting in-state talent

North Side's Brooks top 2019 prospect

Pete DiPrimio | For The Journal Gazette

New Albany senior Romeo Langford rules the state of Indiana's recruiting world.

Well, for the class of 2018, anyway.

North Side's Keion Brooks has that honor in 2019.

Langford might have dropped two spots – to No. 5 nationally – in the latest Rivals.com ratings, but not in the must-have wish list of major college programs.

Indiana has offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-5 standout, rated as the nation's top shooting guard by ESPN.com. So have Purdue, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and just about every other national power.

Despite back problems, Langford helped Team USA to a bronze medal in the recently concluded World Cup tourney in Egypt. Kentucky coach John Calipari coached the U.S. team.

As a junior, Langford averaged 29 points while pacing New Albany to a 25-4 record and the Class 4A state title.

Since Archie Miller took over the IU program in March, the Hoosiers have moved into top contention for Langford.

Langford projects as a one-and-done prospect, meaning he could enter the NBA draft after his freshman season in college. However, that's not etched in stone. Former Indiana Mr. Basketball Caleb Swanigan of Homestead also had one-and-done aspirations but spent two years at Purdue before entering the draft. Portland made him the No. 26 pick last month.

The 6-8 Brooks ranks No. 29 nationally in the class of 2019 by Rivals.com, a national internet recruiting service, and No. 1 in the state. Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State, Kansas and Xavier are among the schools that have offered him a scholarship.

Brooks was impressive during last month's prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia, averaging 7.9 points and 1.6 rebounds.

Langford and Brooks are among the standouts participating in travel ball events across the country during the three-week July recruiting evaluation period. This week's action began Wednesday and continues through Sunday.

Indianapolis hosts the Adidas Invitational, but the biggest events are the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Finals at Peach Jam in South Carolina, the Adidas Gauntlet Finale in South Carolina and the Under Armour Association Finals in Georgia.

Other sites this month include Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Langford and Brooks aren't the only in-state standouts drawing major interest. In the class of 2018 there's McCutcheon's Robert Phinisee, South Bend Riley's Damezi Anderson and Tindley Schools' Eric Hunter in Indianapolis. Hunter is ranked No. 96 in the class by Rivals.com. Anderson is No. 101. Phinisee is No. 120.

Purdue, Indiana and Butler are among the schools to have offered the 6-3 Hunter and the 5-11 Phinisee. Indiana and Purdue have offered the 6-7 Anderson.

Phinisee is a true point guard. That's a position Purdue and Indiana have prioritized for this class. IU coaches reportedly plan to attend all of his games this month.

The Boilermakers were the first major program to offer Anderson. In the past couple months, the Hoosiers have made him a priority.

Purdue already has a class of 2018 commitment from 6-8 center Trevion Williams of Michigan. He's rated No. 94 in the class.

Notre Dame targets include California center Riley Battin, New Jersey guard Jalen Carey (IU also has offered), Pennsylvania guard Robby Carmody (Purdue and Butler also have offered) and Tennessee guard Darius Garland (IU also has offered).

IPFW prospects include North Side guard Austin Boucher (he played his first two seasons at South Side), Indianapolis forward Tony Hopkins and Plainfield forward Gavin Bizeau.

Boucher also is getting strong interest from Ball State and IUPUI.