I’m back with a second sit down with a member of the Baylor Men’s Basketball program. It was a huge honor and a blast to spend time and chat with Langston Love. I left the discussion thinking there can’t be a nicer, more down to earth, kind player in the NCAA. All the intangibles to go along with him being a walking bucket.
Love was the 28th ranked recruit by ESPN in the Class of 2021. He was the 3rd ranked player in Texas and the 7th ranked Shooting Guard in the country. Love suffered a torn ACL in a pre-season scrimmage last year and missed his entire Freshman season due to injury. The last year taught Love a lot, and he has fallen deeper in love with basketball and the Lord.
I am ecstatic to get the chance to share his story and am so appreciative of Love taking the time to chat with me. That being said you are here to read about Langston not me ramble, so here it is...get to know Langston Love.
Q1) I want to just start by getting to know each other a little bit if that’s cool. I went back and re-watched your intro from last year. As a sneakerhead myself the most important question I’m going to ask you today is if you still love collecting shoes and if the Jordan 3 and 4 Black Cats are still your favorite shoes?
A1) “Those are still my grails, I’m working on getting the Black Cat 4’s right now. It’s just the mark on those are high right now. It’s tough chasing down a pair.”
Q2) Even though you were out last year you still got off a ton of tunnel fits, do you think you have the best game day style on the team? Or does someone else have the best style?
A2) “Not gonna lie, I think Dale Bonner has the best style on the team. Yeah Dale has some nice fits, I like some of the fits he throws on.”
Q3) Switching to basketball for a few minutes. You started your high school career at your home town high school in Cibolo. You then transferred to Montverde for your final two years of high school ball, what went into this decision and what was it like moving away from home?
A3) “Our school had just gone to state that year before, Cibolo Steele. I then started playing EYBL with Houston Hoops which is when my recruiting really started to take off. After that I was getting contacted by a couple of schools. I am all about challenges and challenging myself so I feel like that was just the best option to go to Montverde. Knowing that they had Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and everyone, it would prepare me for college getting to go against them everyday.”
Q4) How do you think Montverde and playing alongside NBA players like Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, and Jalen Duren prepared you to transition to college ball?
A4) “Jalen Duren was there my Senior year. It was great competing with them everyday. The first year was a little bit more fun, we were just playing and having fun; but Covid took that year away from us. That was a great year we were having. Practices were fun. We would just get up and down, play and compete with each other. Off the court we were good friends because we all lived in the dorms together.”
Q5) Do you think that dorm life in high school and being away from your family helped you mature and get ready for college?
A5) “Yeah I feel like it did help. I feel like Montverde was a little bit harder in terms of dorm life. We were still minors so we technically were under their watch and they were our guardians. So it was tough not being able to leave campus and stuff like that.
In college you have all the freedom in the world to do whatever you want, but it prepared me well, you know it being on the stricter side. Here it was just a breeze for me to come in and have my own place.”
Q6) I read that Baylor was your first college offer, did the staff continue to check in while you were at Montverde, and how did the recruiting relationship form with the Baylor staff?
A6) “I feel like it was great. At the time that I got my Baylor offer I was coming off the bench, I was really only playing a few minutes. So I really felt like they believed in the person I was and the player I was. You know for them to give me an offer at that point. That was a big deciding factor for me to come here, that they really believed in me when I was really no one at that point in the basketball world. I was virtually unknown.”
Q7) Who were some of the coaches on staff that you built great relationships with during your recruitment?
A7) “Jerome Tang was my main recruiter. I built a relationship with each coach, they would all call and check in. Coach Drew really was engaged all throughout. This is really just a great staff and they are great at what they do. There wasn’t really any one particular coach, all the coaches played a hand.”
Q8) What was Coach Drew like as a recruiter with you and your family?
A8) “It really was a shock to see someone who is that happy all the time. I really like that about him, it makes you look at life with a whole new perspective. He is just so positive with everything he does. I was like ‘why not go play for a guy like that.’ He has you feeling good all the time, he is always bringing the energy, it’s great. He’s great.”
Q9) Has Coach Drew’s outlook on life continued while you’ve been in Waco, and helped shape your world view?
A9) “I feel like he has. The staff is really good at focusing on us off the court, just us becoming great men, and making good decisions.”
Q10) What did it mean to you being a part of the highest ranked recruiting class Baylor had in program history and are you still close with Kendall and Jeremy?
A10) “Yeah those are my guys. It meant a lot, I feel like our class was great. Last year was just up and down with injuries and stuff that we were having. But I feel like it was a great class. It just means a lot to be a part of that class and be a part of history as one of the top Baylor classes that has ever come in.”
Q11) Is it cool to keep in touch with Kendall and Jeremey? They’re guys who are your age and are now in the NBA. How are they helping you through the process to continue to develop with a goal to get to the next level?
A11) “They help me out really well. We were roommates last year actually, Kendall, Jeremy, and me. They helped me along the way through my injury. They will help me out this year of course when I’m going through things on the court. And just talking to them about things they’re doing at the next level will help me right now. Stuff is just starting to kick off for them, so I’m going to have a lot of questions for them.”
Q12) If we could, I want to just take a few minutes to chat about the road back from injury. I remember scrolling Twitter and seeing a tweet that you got hurt in a scrimmage where you were the leading scorer and just feeling for you more as a person than even a player. Can you just take us through your journey when the injury happened through the recovery process and how you are feeling/where you are today?
A12) “Yeah man I got you. Throughout the scrimmage it started off a little rocky. Then I started to catch my flow, and I was making shots. We had gotten a steal and I was coming down about to go up, and I planted and my knee went out. There was dead silence in there, you know there was nobody in there. I remember I screamed a little bit, and I didn't know what happened at that point.
I didn’t really think anything of it until I got the MRI back two days later and it showed I had torn my ACL. It was really just a shock. I had never imagined me doing that. My sister had torn her ACL so I had seen the process of recovery, but I never imagined myself in that position. It was really a slow process at first, because you have to get the swelling out before you can have the surgery.
So after we had the surgery was probably the hardest time because I’m walking around on crutches and couldn’t really do too much on my own. I was always needing a little bit of help, even though I tried to do everything on my own. When the guys found out they were all loving about it and caring for me. They were great, that’s what made the process easier.
I was always around them and they were keeping my mind off of everything. You know we would go to team dinners just laughing you know on the road. It really didn’t seem like I was hurt until the games came and the actual practices came. Otherwise everything was cool and it just wasn’t on my mind.
And then you go into the stages where you have to get your mobility back, and then you start doing little strength stuff. You know the first strength stuff is really the petty stuff because you’re just in the training room sitting on the table doing the same things over and over again every day. You just think to yourself how is this going to get me back. It’s just really a process.
You go into the next phase where you can lift weights. That’s when I started feeling really good again, when I could start to lift weights and get back into jogging. Throughout this process I was just thinking to myself everyday God has a plan. God is going to get me through this. I really got more in touch with my faith throughout this whole process. And just knew God wouldn’t put me in this position if there wasn’t something better on the other side.”
Q13) It’s awesome that you were able to pull that out and root your recovery in your faith and God’s promises in scripture. How has that continued?
A13) “It was great. I am still in my faith right now, trying to dive deeper. We actually have a team thing going where we are reading the book of John. And that’s going well.
Today I think I’m doing well; I’m strong, I’m practicing again. You know today I’m just grateful because you know sometimes you don’t want to practice or workout. But I remember a few months ago I was dying to workout, you know watching everybody workout and me not being able to workout. So I just don’t take anything for granted now. Every chance I get to practice or workout I’m happy because I know what it’s like to be on the other side.”
Q14) Do you think you’ve fallen in love with basketball more through this process?
A14) “Yeah I feel like I have. My love for the game has gotten deeper. You’ve got to go through pain to see what real love is. I feel I’m way deeper in love with basketball now.”
Q15) So are you back at 100%, full speed and full go?
A15) “Yeah I’ve been practicing for about two weeks now since I’ve gotten the full clear. I’ve been doing five on five, I’ve been going through practice just trying to get my wind back and my rhythm back. I’ve got to wear my brace of course. But I feel like I’m about back to 100% now, and I should be good to play this year.”
Q16) LJ went through some injuries last year too. It seemed like you guys were always together on the bench and in warmups. Did that build you guys’ relationship and get to learn from each other last year as you guys were going through the injury recovery process?
A16) “I feel like our relationship has gotten much stronger. I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but I’ve known LJ since like third or fourth grade. Yeah we’ve been playing against each other all growing up. And then we played on the same high school AAU team too.
Our relationship has gotten stronger. We talk about things we can do to help the team this year, and how we want to come back. Our ultimate goal is to win a championship. You know him to win another championship and me to win my first. He’s actually my roommate this year too. So we get along really well and our relationship is really strong.”
Q17) What’re some of your goals for this season on the court and off the court?
A17) “The main goal for me right now is ultimately to stay healthy to help the team out this year in more than just a vocal way. Shoot I just want to try and win a national championship. That just brings so much joy to everybody in the program. That’s the ultimate goal. Outside of that I don’t really have any other goals. I’m just striving to be the best teammate I can be and just help the team as much as possible.”
Q18) With some of the roster turnover we’ve had you are a vet on the team now, how do you want to grow as a leader and what does it mean to you to be a leader and big contributor on this team?
A18) “I just feel like it’s a great honor to even be in this position. To be able to help the new guys that came in. Even though some of the new guys are older than me. To be able to help them see how we do things at Baylor. It’s cool to be in that position to help other people and help my teammates and help guide them.
I feel like the strongest teams have the best connections off the court. So I want to try and build a strong connection off the court. The strongest connection that we can, so on the court we are literally brothers playing together on the court.”
Q19) Dumb last question. Every article that was written about your comeback, you kept getting taller. By April you were 6’8”. Did you see that and what do you officially stand at?
A19) *Laughing* “I did see that. I stand at 6’5”. Man it doesn’t bother me if they want to put me taller then I’m 6’8”.”