It was 89 degrees today here in Columbia, Maryland - a sure sign that spring has finally shown up. And rain tomorrow so the April cliche must be right. And, oh yeah, today is the first day for the National Letter of Intent spring signing period.
There are still a few players who have yet to announce their intentions, including RivalsHoops.com's number one center in the Class of 2003, James Lang. The 6-11, 300 pound big man from Birmingham Alabama's Central Park Christian High School is also ranked fourth in our senior class list.
There's been talk since this past summer season that Lang, who had told Louisville head coach Rick Pitino that he was committing to the Conference USA school but then pulled back due to family issues, would declare for the NBA draft. As RivalsHoops.com's publisher Mike Sullivan reported earlier this month, some think Lang would be better served by getting some college experience while defending stronger post players then he has seen during this past regular season. more
According to a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Lang is scheduled to make an official visit to Louisville next week. Also in the mix are Alabama, Kentucky, UAB, Southern Alabama and Liberty University, a Christian school in Lynchburg, VA and the Big South conference. But for now it's home to Mobile for Easter.
Lang started out at Shaw HS in Mobile and then transferred to Central Park last season to address his academic needs and get in better physical shape.
In concluding his high school career, Lang led Central Park to the National Association of Christian Schools (NACC) national championship and played in the McDonald's All-America Classic and, the grandfather of prep postseason games, the Roundball Classic. As for the pros, the young man has some in-family experience as his cousin Antonio Lang played for five years with three NBA teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers twice.
So what's a guy to do? Time will tell and with the changes the NCAA put in place last year, it really can be close to a no-lose situation for a high school senior to declare for the draft as long as he doesn't sign with an agent (and provided no other rule hasn't been breached). Even if selected, a prep player can choose to head to college. (College underclassmen only have that option when undrafted.)
College recruiting may have changed but one factor remains stable - the young man has to make a decision and deal with the consequences.