University of Kansas

Keith Langford’s team wins Greek League title. He’s a free agent at age 35

Former Jayhawk Keith Langford was at his Wingstop restaurant in Lawrence on Saturday.
Former Jayhawk Keith Langford was at his Wingstop restaurant in Lawrence on Saturday. File photo

Still productive at the age of 35, international basketball standout Keith Langford figures to have plenty of options in free agency this offseason.

The 6-foot-5 former University of Kansas guard will soon return to the United States to ponder upcoming offers after helping Panathinaikos Athens claim the 2018-19 Greek League title.

Langford, who has played in the NBA and the G League as well as in Italy, Russia, Israel, China and Greece, has completed a one-year deal with a Panathinaikos Athens team that wrapped up a three-game sweep of Promitheas on Friday in the Greek League championship series.

Langford — who scored 10 points in 15 minutes in Friday’s 111-77 series clinching game — has already drawn interest from teams in Serbia, France and Turkey, according to “European Basketball Rumors” Twitter account.

He is not considering retirement.

“For sure, guaranteed,” Langford said in an interview with Talkbasket.net, asked if he’d play in the EuroLeague again next season. “I think anybody watching the game can see that I can still play with the best of them. So, this isn’t the last of Keith Langford, for sure.”

Langford — who had injury problems early in the season — averaged 10.7 points and 2.2 rebounds while logging 20 minutes a game in EuroLeague action this past season, which also included Panathinaikos winning the Greek Cup. He had 17 points in the game that clinched the Greek Cup crown last winter.

Langford is used to playing 30 to 35, not 20 minutes a game.

“My plans are to go somewhere where I will be able to be myself again. That’s my plan. I thank Panathinaikos for this season. It was fun, but I have to go back to being me. That’s all I want to do,” Langford said Saturday to Talkbasket.net.

“Just my role and everything … It was fun and I’m happy about everything in the season, but I want to finish my career on my own terms,” added the 2005 KU graduate who played in two Final Fours for the Jayhawks.

His coach this past season was Hall of Famer Rick Pitino.

“I wish I had more opportunities and playing time,” said Langford. “That’s the main factor. Historically, I’ve been playing for 14 years and in my previous 13 years I’ve never been a player of 11, 14 or 15 minutes, things like that. For me, the opportunity and the freedom to be who I am as a player is the most important.”

Pitino, meanwhile, may return to Panathinaikos.

“I have it all planned, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday to speak to all my children. If I can get them on board, I will return,” Pitino told Eurohoops.net. “If I can’t get them all on board, then I won’t (be back). It’s very simple. We are a very strong family, like the Greek families. It’s got to be one for all and all for one,” Pitino added.

Pitino said if he returns to Europe … “I give up college basketball forever. It (return to college) could never happen because I couldn’t leave Panathinaikos for a college in March or April. If I come back, it’s Panathinaikos and then death.”

Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos has told media members he wants Pitino back as the team’s coach.

KU offers Dawson Garcia

KU basketball has offered a scholarship to Dawson Garcia, a 6-10, 200-pound senior-to-be forward out of Prior Lake High School in Savage, Minnesota. He’s ranked No. 38 in the class of 2020 by Rivals.com.

Garcia also been offered by Arizona, Baylor, Indiana, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Texas and others, Rivals.com reports.

“I’ve never had any questions about Dawson Garcia’s overall talent and skill level,” writes Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “He can shoot. He can put the ball on the floor and he moves fluidly for a big man. At times, though, the killer instinct has come and gone. What i saw on Thursday (at NBPA top-100 camp in Virginia) was a guy being more physical and getting after it on the boards more than I can ever recall seeing him play. He had energy, a bounce in his step and was really productive.”

Griffin on KU’s wish list

KU, UCLA, Villanova and Duke have offered a scholarship to A.J. Griffin, a 6-5 junior-to-be shooting guard from Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, New York, according to Corey Evans of Rivals.com. Griffin is ranked No. 10 in the class of 2021 by Rivals.com.

Bluebloods recruiting Lander

KU, Kentucky, Indiana and many other programs are recruiting Khristian Lander, a 6-2 junior-to-be out of F.J. Reitz High School in Evansville, Indiana, Rivals.com reports.

He’s ranked No. 26 in the class of 2021 by Rivals.com.

“Archie Miller (Indiana coach) has hit the mark whenever it comes to landing the best that his state has to provide. Miller is hoping Khristian Lander might be the next to do as such,” writes Corey Evans of Rivals.com. “The top-30 guard already holds an Indiana offer and expect for the Hoosiers’ interest in him to only pick up from here. Lander has visited the Bloomington campus in recent months, but securing his commitment will not come easy. A bevy of regional powers along with Kansas and Kentucky are involved.”

Lawson works out with Knicks

Former KU forward Dedric Lawson worked out for the New York Knicks on Friday, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com. Lawson is listed as 60th best prospect for the NBA Draft by Sportingnews.com. There are 60 picks in the two-round draft, which will be held Thursday in New York.

CBS hands KU No. 5 ranking

KU is ranked No. 5 in CBSsports.com’s 2019-20 preseason poll. KU jumped from No. 12 to 7 on Tuesday following the commitment of Iowa graduate transfer Isaiah Moss. Then, on Thursday, the Jayhawks improved two more slots to No. 5 after the commitment of Denton, Texas, small forward Jalen Wilson.

“The Jayhawks will have to replace three of the top six scorers from last season’s team that finished 17th at KenPom,” writes Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com. “But a core of Devon Dotson and Udoka Azuibuike — plus the late additions of Iowa grad-transfer Isaiah Moss and 4-star prospect Jalen Wilson — make KU the obvious favorite in the Big 12.”

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