Indiana freshman Langford says he'll enter draft

Indiana freshman guard Romeo Langford has decided to declare for the 2019 NBA draft.

"I plan on officially declaring for the draft next week," Langford told ESPN.

Langford, the 11th-best prospect on ESPN's rankings, is scheduled to have surgery in Indianapolis for a torn ligament in his thumb suffered in late November. The extent of the injury wasn't revealed until the end of the season.

"I hurt my thumb right before the Duke game in practice," Langford said. That game was Nov. 27, and Langford said the thumb has been hurting ever since.

Langford nevertheless had a strong freshman season. He led the Hoosiers with a 16.5-point scoring average, and added 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, earning All-Big Ten second-team honors and being named to the conference's all-freshman team.

Langford came to Indiana with significant fanfare, ranked No. 5 in the ESPN 100 recruiting rankings and a projected top-five draft pick. Playing with a torn ligament in his hand clearly put a damper on his season, though, as his shooting percentages (53 percent from 2-point range, 27 percent from 3) were inconsistent throughout the year.

"I think it's fair to say that we never got a chance to see me at my best at the college level, especially since I've been playing with basically a cast on my thumb the whole season," Langford said. "Obviously that throws off your shot. Even though I didn't shoot as well as I'm capable of, I feel like I shot the ball pretty well in the second half of the season."

Measured at 6-foot-6 with a 6-11 wingspan, the 19-year-old Langford has long intrigued NBA scouts with his ability to create offense with the ball in his hands, score from all over the floor, and defend multiple positions.

Despite playing through pain and electing not to have the surgery right away -- which likely would have ended his season in November -- Langford is expected to make a full recovery in time to conduct workouts with NBA teams picking in the lottery.

"I tried to keep going with the injury instead of shutting it down, just because I wanted to experience college basketball and I wanted to be there for my teammates and help them be all that they can be," Langford said. "I think that shows NBA teams how tough I am.

"I'm looking forward to showing NBA teams all the things that they didn't see out of me during the college basketball season."