Langford departs MSU; Will not turn pro

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JOSHUA LANGFORD Michigan State basketball

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – FEBRUARY 23: Joshua Langford #1 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his made basket with teammate A.J. Hoggard #11 of the Michigan State Spartans in the first half of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Breslin Center on February 23, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – In the wee hours of the morning following Michigan State’s 86-80 loss to UCLA, in overtime of the NCAA tournament, Joshua Langford dropped quite the surprise after the game when he said it would be his last in a Spartan uniform.

It put a bow on his five-year run in East Lansing and on Monday afternoon via his Instagram he also made something else official: He will not be pursuing a professional career, ultimately announcing his retirement from the sport.

“Although it will be new to me, I am excited for the next part of my race,” Langford said in a lengthy statement. “I would also want to encourage others to see that you have much more in you than what you do right now. Do not allow what you do to define who you are because it doesn’t. We all have many hats that we can wear. You don’t have to be afraid of taking new steps that others may not think you should take.”

He then went on to add, “Sometimes people’s expectations and demands on us can be a gravitational pull, that will cause us to stay in our comfort zones. You don’t have to live in a box that is built by what culture and other people say you should do. That doesn’t mean you don’t listen, but it does mean that you don’t limit yourself. Don’t even let yourself stop you from taking new steps. The feeling of fear isn’t always an  indicator that you shouldn’t, sometimes the feeling of fear is an indicator that you should. I encourage you all to just go for it. We all have been uniquely designed to do unique things. So go for it.”

The 6-foot-5 guard dealt with two significant surgeries to his left foot, in back-to-back seasons, while he was at MSU before closing out the 2020-21 campaign on a relatively high note. Langford averaged 28.1 minutes and was also second on the team in scoring behind Aaron Henry. Langford and Joey Hauser both averaged 9.7 points a game.

Langford who was a part of Tom Izzo’s 2016 recruiting class with Miles Bridges, Nick Ward, and Cassius Winston was named a captain for a third straight year this past season, which didn’t come as a surprise. Langford blossomed into a leader during the 2018-19 season after he sustained his first injury which was a stress reaction in his left foot. It ultimately ended his junior campaign.

Throughout it all he kept a positive mindset and leaned on his faith, but did admit on a Zoom call with the media on Monday afternoon there were several times he thought of giving up.

“You want the honest answer?” said Langford. “I had thought about giving up 100 times, but you know my friend Tum Tum (as in Lourawls Tum Tum Nairn Jr.) he talks about how the urge to quit doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a loser. The urge to quit actually solidifies that you are a winner.”

As he prepares for his ‘next race’ in life Langford did not disclose specifically what is next for him. He just wants to take it all in and see where the wind blows.

“I think I will be around all sports in general just because of how relatable my experiences are to the athlete,” said Langford. “I think I would be putting myself in a box if I said I just want to be around the sport of basketball.”

Langford earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising Management with a Minor in Religious Studies and this summer he will complete his Master’s in Education with a concentration in sports, culture, and leadership.

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