In the hours following an unofficial visit to Louisiana-Lafayette in the spring of 2013, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School (Mobile, AL) standout TJ Lang received a phone call from Virginia Tech’s James Johnson. The message from the Hokies head men’s basketball coach was simple.
“He was telling me that whenever the possibility was there he would come to watch me play,” said Lang, a 6’7″, 190-pound wing guard/forward now in his senior year. “The first AAU game he saw me play, it was just him. The next game, he was there again. He kept showing up to all my games. Then it wasn’t just him. A few other of his coaches would join him. Then he had pretty much the whole staff there.”
Virginia Tech — and other schools, for that matter — stepped up its pursuit of Lang in July, which is an important month on the AAU circuit. Lang performed well on a talented Game Elite squad, continuing to show the form he displayed during his junior season at McGill-Toolen.
“He really had a good July with his travel team. Virginia Tech saw him play up in Las Vegas (at the Adidas Super 64), and I think they turned the corner after that performance,” McGill-Toolen head coach Phillip Murphy said of Lang, who averaged 17.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a junior, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 25-7 overall record. “They started calling me immediately after.”
Lang’s outside shooting touch was evident his junior season, making 53-percent of his 3s in 100 tries. College coaches got to see more of this in AAU action this spring and summer.
“In July I did a good job of picking and choosing shots, knowing when to and when not to take shots,” Lang said. “Our whole team had high-major offers. Everybody either is a 3-star or up. They can all play, so coaches were always coming to watch our games. I had an easy job of knocking down shots.”
Coach Murphy could tell early on that TJ was well schooled in the sport of basketball. This is not a surprise given the fact that Lang’s father is former Duke Blue Devil Antonio Lang, who is now coaching basketball in Japan.
“TJ stepped in and understood things about the game a lot of our seniors didn’t understand as far as reading screens and coming off screens,...
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