Saturday, July 24, 2021

Joshua Langford is stepping up on and off the court after battle with injury, COVID-19

February 9, 2021
<p>Masters guard Joshua Langford (1) fights for the ball during the game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 25, 2020 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Eagles, 83-67.</p>

Masters guard Joshua Langford (1) fights for the ball during the game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 25, 2020 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Eagles, 83-67.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

As the veteran on the team – a lot of responsibility falls on your shoulders.

For Joshua Langford, it makes him feel old.

He laughed when talking with media Saturday after their win against Nebraska where he led the Spartans and posted 18 points alone, saying that he is young, he swears, but he knows where he stands in the eyes of the public.

The graduate student guard is back this season after sitting out with a foot injury and then more recently, COVID-19, and he's stepping up in ways unexpected: but cherished by head coach Tom Izzo on and off the court.

In six of the last seven games alone, Langford has posted double figures.

Many people doubt he can still play as he approaches six years in college. Regardless, as the team has paraded through an up and down regular season campaign, he has done nothing but prove himself worthy.

"I was really happy with Josh and the way he played (because) it's been hard for him," Izzo said.

"Gabe and Josh are two of my live, eat and sleep it guys," Izzo said. "Josh really helped me on the bench [against Nebraska]. He was a very good leader today, he figured out what was going on and tried to talk to a few guys."

Langford is ranked third on the team in scoring with starts in 14 of his 15 games played.

He averages 25 minutes and 10 points per game. He is five points away from breaking the 1,000 point mark for his collegiate career.

"We need guys who practice more," Izzo said. "Josh isn't one of them, so I don't know what I'm going to do with him."

If it wasn't for the 20-some days off, the lack of total practice since early January, Izzo wouldn't feel the same way. He said he's played Langford a lot in the last few games, simply because he was stuck, and he thanks God that any aches and pains in Langford's foot after aren't restricting.

Izzo said they're taking his abilities day-by-day.

Reminiscing, Izzo knows it's been hard on Langford. They both know he had a lot of good shots that should have been made, especially at Iowa.

"I think he's grown a lot," Izzo said. "I don't know many people that could go almost two years off, do what he did, rehab like he did, respond like he has, kind of figure that maybe your basketball days are over and still grind enough."

"It's hard to feel excited about it because he can play better than he's played," Izzo said. "But, if I look at what he's given me, I don't know many guys who have given me as much as Josh has given me and fought through all these different things. He's still a pretty good defender, he has five rebounds, 18 points, pretty good defense and great leadership. He's a bright spot."

Personally, Langford said their losing streak felt like an uphill battle both physically and mentally, and going into Nebraska, he and his team tried to hold the mindset of "keep moving forward."

"You have to put the past in the past," Langford said. "Move from the past, live in today and prepare for tomorrow. If you're so focused on what happened in the past, you won't be able to be the best you can be in the present."

Discussion

Share and discuss “Joshua Langford is stepping up on and off the court after battle with injury, COVID-19” on social media.