- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In the Class 3A state semifinal game, freshman Joshua Langford scored 30 points and pulled down 16 rebounds as Madison Academy held off a Greensboro team featuring Alabama signee Jimmie Taylor to advance to the finals.
What would the 2016 prospect do for an encore?
How about 21 points, 19 rebounds and six assists in the championship game to lead the Mustangs to a win over Southside Selma. It wasn’t easy, though. In the first half, Langford shot just 2 of 15 from the field, but he and his teammates battled back in the second half to overcome a double-digit lead and claim the state title.
“It feels good,” Langford said. “The game is a team sport. I always put it back on my teammates for getting us to where we’re at. It was a big win for that team.
“We’d been through so much through the whole year with the football players coming back late. We had a losing season, but halfway through the season, we decided that we were just going to play for each other and we were going to come together.
“That championship game was like our whole year. We were down, but we came back, we fought through it and got the win.”
When it was over, Langford was named the tournament MVP. He’s also a prime candidate to take home the coveted Mr. Basketball award for the state of Alabama. Remember, he’s just a freshman.
It’s no surprise that the 6-foot-5 Langford already has five scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee and UAB. He’s also receiving interest from a pair of Pac-12 schools, Stanford and UCLA, as well as Memphis more recently.
Over the weekend, he visited Alabama for the Crimson Tide’s final regular-season home game against Georgia.
“It was a great game,” Langford said. “Coach [Anthony] Grant, he always makes me feel welcome down there, and they always make it a great environment down there.”
The game was an instant classic. Junior point guard Trevor Releford hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to propel the Tide past the Bulldogs.
“I kind of called the shot when he shot it,” Langford said. “When he let it go, I kind of saw it. I was like, ‘this is going in.’ It was a big shot for Trevor.
“After the game, he was saying that he and one of the walk-ons, they were practicing that shot before practice the other day. He said he wasn’t even making it then, but he ended up making it in the game. He was surprised.”
Langford gets a short break before he travels to Chicago at the end of the month for Adidas Nations. This summer, he’s set to play with the Atlanta Celtics 17u team, which should land him more exposure and interest from more schools.