Makai Ashton-Langford is coming to Providence and Ed Cooley has his next dynamic point guard prospect to groom. And, Langford just picked up some valuable tips for his arsenal from none other than Allen Iverson himself at the recent Allen Iverson Roundball Classic in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Ashton-Langford has been a prized recruit for virtually his entire high school career, beginning at St. Peter Marian High School in his hometown of Worcester (MA), continuing to Cushing Academy, and ultimately at Brewster Academy.
Initially, the early reviews were based on the fact that Ashton-Langford was a big lead guard with natural playmaking ability and a frame that looked likely to grow. In fact, many once envisioned a big 6-foot-4 lead guard.
Ashton-Langford may have never gotten that late growth spurt that some expected, but it didn’t much matter.
It was in the summer of 2015, at the Adidas Summer Championships in Las Vegas, that he solidified himself as a top national prospect. The theme of that event were the match-ups between many of the nation’s top point guards – Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith, Frank Jackson to name a few along with the likes of Tremont Waters.
Ashton-Langford went head-to-head with all of them and when it was all said and done he had gotten the better of each and every match-up. Is that to say he’ll be as good for Providence as Ball was for UCLA or Smith for N.C. State? Of course not. But during that week, with all of the grassroots community watching him, no one could handle him.
The foundation for Ashton-Langford’s success has always been his playmaking ability. He has great speed with the basketball, but is also equally shifty, and has the rare ability to make tough lay-ups from a variety of different angles and using a variety of different spins.
He’s also a gifted defensive prospect who has shown the ability to lock down on that end of the floor when he so desires. That’s not to say he has always been a completely diligent defender, almost no high school player is, but it is to say that he has both the physical and mental tools to be a standout on that end for the Friars.
Most of all, Ashton-Langford has a winning pedigree unlike almost any other. His Mass Rivals team won four different championships last July, including a clean sweep of every Adidas national tournament. It was more of the same this winter as Brewster finished undefeated with both the NEPSAC and National Prep Championships.
His deficiencies include an inconsistent jump shot and a willingness to over-handle the basketball. He’s become a more consistent shooter in recent years, fueled by some cleaner mechanics, but it’s still a question mark heading to the next level. His sometimes dribble happy ways aren’t a sign of selfishness either, just an indication that he hasn’t evolved into a true ball mover just yet.
Neither is expected to infringe on his playing time next year. In fact, he’s going to see immediate time but have the benefit of learning alongside Kyron Cartwright for the year. Expect to see plenty of two guard line-ups, as we’ve seen from Ed Cooley in the past, but with Cartwright set to graduate next May the keys to the car will officially belong to Ashton-Langford from that point on.