June 20, 2011
by: Michael Stagno, Auburn media relations
As Josh Langford chose Auburn over schools like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Louisville, Ole Miss and West Virginia, he knew that he was making the right choice. He is the type of player that likes to work hard and push his teammates to work just as hard. He credits Coach Tony Barbee with supplanting the necessary characteristics in each of his players that they need to succeed, but also in being the father-like figure that the team needs as they progress at Auburn.
"With him, you have to earn what you can get," Langford said. "He pushes you hard, but he only wants what's best for you. He loves all of us and just wants us to do great things."
Last season as a freshman, Langford averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 15.0 minutes while appearing in 31 games, starting 12.
"It means a lot, but at the same time, you have to keep working," Langford said. "As the season went on, I realized I had to work on certain skill areas, and I'm still working on them now so that I can hopefully play a lot of minutes this upcoming season and maybe even start."
Humbled and knowing that he must apply himself to the fullest in both school and in basketball, Langford realizes that without his mother he would have a hard time in making the transition from childhood to adulthood, but realizes that his mother has done everything she could in raising him.
"I just want what's best for her," Langford said. "I want to provide for her because she has done so much for me, and it would be nice for her to not have to work so hard anymore."
Langford knows that the upcoming season is going to require all players to have the same drive that Barbee and his staff have, but with transfer players and incoming recruits, the Tigers are only going to improve.
"I feel good about them. They're very talented," Langford said. "Varez Ward and Noel Johnson are going to be huge for us. We're looking forward to seeing the new guys on the court and in contributing to help us win."
As Langford prepares for the upcoming season, he is working on his overall basketball I.Q. and in applying his skill set toward the basic fundamentals of the game. He is studying film from games last season, but also watching current NBA players, like LeBron James, in how they select their shots and how they attack the pick and roll.
"I've been working on finding openings for not only me, but my teammates as well," Langford said. "I'm working on my ball-handling skills, and I'm focused on getting my left hand strong again following an injury I had last season. I'm just working really hard right now."
When asked if this was possibly a breakout season for him, Langford, selfless and team-oriented, said that he looks to take it one game at a time and that he will do whatever the team needs him to do. He remains humble and has set goals both individually and for his team as they prepare for the upcoming season.
"I hope we can win the SEC and go to the NCAA Tournament," Langford said. "We have the potential to do it. With the coaches we have and the players that we have, it is possible to achieve big things this season."
Langford was the state of Alabama's number one overall prospect out of Lee High School in Huntsville, Ala., and was also ranked No. 1 on The Birmingham News' Boys Super Seniors List. As a senior, he scored a game-high 25 points with nine rebounds to earn honors as the Alabama MVP of the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and he averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds on the season to lead his team to the Class 5A State Championship where they would go on to win their first state title since 1968.