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Langford officially declares for NBA draft, Green, Durham and Smith set to return



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Freshman guard Romeo Langford runs the ball up the court against Maryland on Jan. 11. IU lost to Maryland 78-75.  Photo courtesy of Corey Hart/The Diamondback Buy Photos

Before this year, if a college basketball player signed an agent to pursue the NBA draft, the athlete would not be able to return to his college.

That rule was changed for this offseason to allow athletes to use agents as guides through the NBA process, then return if they thought they weren’t ready to go pro.

Even though Romeo Langford entering the NBA draft was a foregone conclusion, the former Hoosier made it official Monday evening.

“I believe now is the time for me to begin the next chapter of my life and keep my name in the 2019 NBA draft,” Langford wrote in his note he posted to social media.

He thanked his coaches, teammates and fans for the support he had during his year with IU and said he will always be a part of Hoosier nation.

Langford averaged 16.5 points per game last season, with his highest outing coming against Maryland when he scored 28. He finished first in the Big Ten and fifth nationally in freshmen scoring and made the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

ESPN reporter after the season ended that Langford suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb in a practice prior to IU’s loss to Duke University on Nov. 27. Langford decided to play through the injury and had significant bandaging around his right hand throughout the season.

Freshman guard Romeo Langford shoots a freethrow against Wisconsin on Feb. 26 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU won against WIsconsin, 75-73.  Ty Vinson Buy Photos

He had surgery in Indianapolis to repair it and just recently attended the NBA Combine in Chicago from May 15-19. He didn’t participate much aside from some measurements because he still has a cast on his right hand.

Langford wasn’t the only non-IU senior to initially put his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool. Senior Devonte Green and juniors Al Durham and Justin Smith also began to tread the professional waters after the season ended in March.

IU confirmed Wednesday morning Green, Durham and Smith will be returning for the 2019-20 season.

Toward the end of last season, Green came on as one of IU’s most potent scoring threats.

Despite averaging 9.4 points per game, Green scored 13 or more points in the team’s final seven games, giving him an average of 15.4 in that stretch.

When Langford was injured during the NIT with a back injury, Green took his place in the starting lineup to give IU a three-guard set alongside Durham and sophomore Rob Phinisee. That trio will most likely be the starting guards for this season.

Junior guard Devonte Green celebrates after scoring against Ohio State on March 14 during the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament in Chicago. Green contributed a team-high score of 26 points to the Hoosiers' 79-75 loss against the Buckeyes. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

Durham doubled his point total from his freshman season when he averaged 8.3 points as a sophomore. He shot 35% from three and had the second most 3-pointers made on the season with 40. His highest scoring outing came when he dropped 22 points in the first round of the NIT.

Smith was fifth on the team in scoring last year, averaging 8.2 points. His highest point total came against Michigan State when he scored 24 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, en route to a victory over the top 10-ranked Spartans.

Sophomore forward Justin Smith stands guard during a free throw in the Jan. 30 game against Rutgers. IU lost to Rutgers 66-58. Photo courtesy of Garrett Steffe Buy Photos

Smith started all but three games last season and saw his minutes decrease when senior De’Ron Davis got healthy from his Achilles injury. But with Juwan Morgan graduated, Smith will likely slot in with Davis to be IU’s primary frontcourt players.

The start date for the season has not yet been announced, but IU does know which Big Ten teams it will play at home and away, as well as three nonconference opponents in University of Arkansas as part of a home and home series — IU played at Arkansas last season — University of Connecticut in the Jimmy V Classic and Notre Dame University in the Crossroads Classic.

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