The top uncommitted prospect in the 2018 class, five-star Romeo Langford, is expected to shut down his recruitment at some point in the April signing period. After garnering interest for years as a high major prospect with bonafide pro potential, he's whittled down his options to a final three: Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt.
Where he goes could determine much more than the color of jersey he dons in 2018.
Langford is a program-changing talent who is ranked as the No. 5 player in his recruiting class, and the No. 1 prospect at the shooting guard position. So take it without hyperbole when I tell you that his commitment will not only alter one program's immediate trajectory, but also, potentially, the top of the entire power structure of the sport in 2018.
Will he pick Kansas, joining a talent-rich program that ranks No. 1 in the way-too-early? Will he join up-and-coming Vanderbilt, where several blue-chippers have already flocked to? Or will Langford, a New Albany, Indiana star, stay in The Hoosier State and expedite the rebuilding process for Archie Miller at Indiana?
Let's break down his final three and the situation at each of his finalists by ranking the best fits for the most wanted recruit remaining on the board for 2018.
Who's coming: Indiana is guard deficient, plain and simple. As of now, the only new face for 2018 at shooting guard is Saint Francis transfer Vijay Blackmon, who sat on the bench last season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He averaged 9.2 points and 2 rebounds as a freshman in the 2016-17 season. Although the Hoosiers boast a top-25 recruiting class, none project as shooting guards, though small forward Damezi Anderson will likely spend an ample amount of time on the perimeter.
The fit: It's entirely possible that second year coach Archie Miller may opt to bring in a graduate transfer to soften the loss of Robert Johnson at shooting guard, whether Langford chooses to stay in the state or not. Nevertheless, Langford projects as a day one starter in Bloomington, leaving soon-to-be sophomore Aljami Durham as the most likely playing time casualty moving forward.
The fit for Langford in Bloomington is seamless.
Who's coming: Although Vandy has a talented transfer class in former Notre Dame player Matt Ryan and Saint Mary's import Yanni Wetzell to supplement its top-10 2018 recruiting class, none of the incoming prospects are projected to play Langford's position. And of note: Langford's commitment would be the third five-star of the recruiting class to go alongside power forward Simi Shittu and point guard Darius Garland.
The fit: Before this recruiting cycle, Vanderbilt's highest-rated recruit in the 247Sports Composite was John Jenkins, a shooting guard from the 2009 class. In 2018, however, Bryce Drew has a chance to land the top three recruits in program history, as Simi Shittu and Darius Garland are now the two highest rated Commodores recruits ever. Langford's addition would boost him into the No. 1 spot, and more notably, into a role as an unquestioned alpha on a team that is on the rise in the SEC.
Langford would be an immediate starter at Vanderbilt succeeding departed senior Riley LaChance and would likely unseat returning rotational piece Maxwell Evans, who is likely in line for a starting role next season. Adding Langford would complete the puzzle Bryce Drew has been busting his back to complete, and would potentially put his program as a preseason top-25 team given the talent. It's hard to imagine Langford saying no to Vandy because of a talent deficiency.
Who's coming: In addition to transfers Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore re-gaining their eligibility in 2018, the Jayhawks have a stacked incoming recruiting class that ranks sixth nationally according to 247Sports.com. Only two of those players, Quentin Grimes and Ochai Agbaji, could potentially threaten playing time for Langford; the former, Grimes, has the capability to play either guard spot at KU.
The fit: There's a ton of production leaving Lawrence from Bill Self's Final Four team, including three of the top scorers in Devonte' Graham, Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk. That means Self has holes to plug to get back to where his season ended again in 2018-19, and the addition of Langford would give him an offensive punch that would help patch up those openings.
I wouldn't rule out Kansas, if only because Kansas is a perennial power with a strong pull for blue-chippers such as Langford. But even with Lagerald Vick and Malik Newman pursuing professional opportunities, I suspect he may simply like his chances elsewhere, where he wouldn't likely bang up against Quentin Grimes for playing time -- and prestige -- in the backcourt.