Monday, September 27, 2021

Joshua Langford joins other 2016 recruits in surpassing 1,000 career points

February 10, 2021
<p>Graduate student Joshua Langford shoots a free throw in the final minutes of the Spartans&#x27; win against Penn State on Feb. 9, 2021. During the game, Langford eclipsed 1,000 career points.</p>

Graduate student Joshua Langford shoots a free throw in the final minutes of the Spartans' win against Penn State on Feb. 9, 2021. During the game, Langford eclipsed 1,000 career points.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

The 2016 recruiting class was called "the best ever" for Tom Izzo, with its two five-star recruits Miles Bridges (top-10 overall) and Joshua Langford (top-20 overall), Cassius Winston (top-30 overall) and Nick Ward (top-50 overall).

Bridges was selected as the 12th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded immediately that night and now plays for the Charlotte Hornets.

Winston was selected as the 53rd pick overall in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder and now plays as a point guard for the Washington Wizards.

Ward, after foregoing his senior year at Michigan State, was never drafted and instead now plays as a power forward for Istanbul Basket, which is apart of the Turkish Basketball First League.

He also played as a member of the Atlanta Hawks organization during the NBA Summer League.

And Langford?

He's still here. Even after everything he's been through.

"I've been blessed and fortunate enough to be on a few different teams here and a few different seasons," Langford said before the Spartans' game against Oakland University earlier this season. "My first year was a tough year, my freshman year. My sophomore year we had one of the better teams in the country; we were No. 1 for a lot of that year. My junior year we had a great team as well. Just being on all those different teams and having all that different experience, I think the one thing I've learned throughout all those different years was to be able to know how to stay even-keeled and not necessarily just be moved by results, but just be moved by your goals and what you set out to be focused in to do."

The guard, nearly five years later, has waited for his final moments after being benched with an injury to his foot that took away 1.5 seasons and part of this season when he tested positive for COVID-19 in January.

But all of it — neither the injuries nor disease — has stopped the 6-foot-5, Alabama-native from finishing his time at MSU.

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"You have to put the past in the past," Langford said in a virtual press conference earlier this year. "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."

On Tuesday night against Penn State (7-9, 4-8 Big Ten), Langford hit a three-pointer from the wing to surpass 1,000 career points.

"I'm hoping that a couple of things: Sometime we'll have a celebration on the court, I'm hoping it's when his parents are here, when a few fans are here," Head Coach Tom Izzo said. "These are the things, the memory-making moments, that COVID has really taken away from us, so I didn't want to do anything on the court right then because he deserves more. But, in the locker room, the guys were pretty fired up for him."

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In total, he scored five points, going 2-for-9 from the field and 1-for-5 from the arc with three rebounds and one assist.

He is the fourth and final member of that 2016 recruiting class to surpass 1,000 points in a career. Some fans could have predicted this, sure, but could anyone have predicted that it would be Langford, in February of 2021, to seal the deal? Who knows.

"To go through what he went through, to play as little as he sort of played and to be a 1,000 point scorer and to be in that illustrious list is pretty impressive," Izzo said. "I'm proud of him. I'm happy for him. It'll give him one more thing to feel good about in what has been a tough career."

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