Huntsville, Ala.--A -prospect with plenty of choices, Lee High School star Josh Langford, said there are a variety of reasons he decided to become Auburn’s first signee of the Tony Barbee Era.
On Thursday at his school, with family, his coaches, school administrators plus friends and teammates watching, he signed scholarship papers to play for the Tigers.
After he put his signature on the dotted line, the 6-7 senior, who is ranked as the number one prospect in the state of Alabama by the Birmingham News, said, “It is exciting to get a chance to be a part of Coach Barbee’s first team. I had a great visit there last weekend and like the coaches and the people I met.
“The new arena is great,” he added. “It is really great to be able to have our dorm rooms right next to the arena and the practice courts. I can just walk next door and work on my game any time I want to. I like that.”
“Coach Barbee and his staff were recruiting me when they were at UTEP and I really liked him and the way they play, which is like Coach (John) Calipari played when Coach Barbee was an assistant on Calipari’s staff at Memphis.
“I decided that El Paso was way too far away, but when I heard he was coming to Auburn that interested me. I decided that maybe this could be a new start with Coach Barbee. I am really excited about my decision. I am ready to be a part of the new start with Auburn basketball.”
Barbee made Langford the first recruit he visited after being announced as Auburn’s head coach. On his way to New York City to work as TV analyst at CBS College Sports for the NCAA Tournament, Barbee stopped at Lee High and made it clear to Langford that he is a high priority for the new Auburn staff.
“He is a cool guy and is a good coach,” Langford said. “I think Auburn will be a good fit for me.”
Langford put on an Auburn hat and wore an Auburn jacket and shirt at his signing ceremony that attracted an overflow crowd of well-wishers who listened to his announcement in the hall. The group applauded and cheered when he announced he was choosing Auburn over West Virginia, Ole Miss and a variety of other colleges.
Lee High coach Greg Brown said, “Josh has added the perimeter skills to go with his game. He already had a lot of post skills. He has speeded up his game quite a bit. He plays on the perimeter a whole lot more than he did. He handles the ball well and he shoots the ball well.
“He also has a mid-range game and he is explosive to the rim,” Brown said of his player who has a 39-inch vertical jump that he used to lead Lee to the Class 5A state championship this season.
“Josh really likes playing the fast style of play that Coach Barbee used at UTEP and that is what we play here,” the coach added. “Josh told me he really likes that and he doesn’t want to go to any other style of play. Auburn became a great fit for him because Barbee and I pretty much run the same offense so his adjustment period will be pretty short.”
Langford said he has been interested in Auburn for a long time, but noted that he was a bit puzzled that Coach Jeff Lebo’s staff had not made more of an effort to recruit him. Langford and Brown noted that Lebo’s staff was one of the colleges recruiting the Lee High star when Lebo was fired at Auburn. “The previous staff came in on him a little bit late,” Brown pointed out. “I was kind of shocked at that myself that they were waiting so long, but they finally came in.”
Brown noted that Auburn may have been waiting to see how Langford did on his ACT. The coach said after Langford took care of that “the floodgates opened” and offers began pouring in from around the country.
“A lot of people assumed that he would end up in the Big East because he had two great opportunities with Cincinnati and with (Coach Bob) Huggins at West Virginia,” Brown said. “He really loved both of those schools.”
Coach Greg Brown (left) is shown with Josh Langford (right).
The Lee High coach said he has known Barbee for many years and predicts he will do a good job on the recruiting front. “He has the personality to really relate to the kids,” pointed out Brown, who noted that the basketball community in Huntsville is “really thrilled” to have Barbee coaching at Auburn.
Brown said that Langford should help the Tigers recruit other players. “It is going to be big for Auburn because this is a kid everyone wants to follow.”
Langford said after his visit to Auburn he was convinced that AU is the right choice. He likes the coaching staff, the academics, the facilities, the people at Auburn and the fact that the campus is close enough for his parents to drive to home games.
The forward said he is excited about reporting to campus. He plans to come early and take summer classes beginning in June.
Attending the ceremony was his cousin, Devin Langford, a talented junior guard at Lee High who is also interested in the Tigers. The Auburn signee said he will be recruiting Devin as well as one of the top senior prospects, Huntsville native Luke Cothron, who is considering the Tigers as a prep school student in North Carolina.
Commenting on Cothron, Langford says, “If he comes, he will be a good one.” The Auburn signee said he also hopes that another Huntsville area star, Butler High junior guard Trevor Lacey, will follow him to Auburn.
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