Men’s basketball star and March Madness hero Ryan Langborg will be spending his final year of college eligibility playing for the Northwestern Wildcats, he announced on Instagram Sunday afternoon.
Northwestern head coach Chris Collins must have liked what he saw from Langborg at the Golden 1 Center in March. Following the upsets against Arizona and Missouri, Collins’ squad played against Boise State and UCLA in the same arena.
After visiting Northwestern’s campus this past weekend, Langborg’s mind was set. He knew he wanted to be a Wildcat.
“On the visit, I got to meet all the guys and talk to the whole staff and could feel how excited they are for next year,” Langborg wrote to The Daily Princetonian. “I was talking to a couple of other schools, but the visit absolutely sold me on my fit at Northwestern,” he added.
Langborg will be pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Administration during his time at Northwestern.
The Wildcats are coming off their best finish in the Big Ten Conference since the 1958–59 season. The team finished tied for second in the conference and beat Boise State in the first round of the NCAA tournament before falling to UCLA in the Round of 32.
Despite a historic season for the program, efficient scoring was a challenge for the Wildcats all year. They finished last in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage and 12th out of 14 teams in team points-per-game and three-point percentage.
The transfer of Langborg could aid these offensive woes, as he finished the season 12th in the Ivy League in both three-point percentage and points-per-game.
“They are a perfect fit for me in terms of the way they play offensively and defensively, and they are in a position to win,” Langborg wrote to the ‘Prince’ about his decision.
In addition to Langborg, Princeton fans can expect to see another former Tiger next season in the Big Ten, as former Princeton guard Jaelin Llewellyn ’22 transferred to Michigan last year. After an injury ended his season less than 10 games in, he plans to return for the 2023–24 season, where he’ll play against former teammate Langborg twice during the regular season.
“I’m super excited to be able to play against him,” Langborg added. “It will be a bit interesting and different, but always fun.”
Langborg himself has grown used to playing for a winning program and is “super pumped” to compete in one of the nation’s most competitive basketball conferences. As an upperclassman with the Tigers, he won back-to-back Ivy League regular-season titles and an Ivy Madness title as a senior.
The six-foot-four guard that calls San Diego home led the Tigers in scoring during their Cinderella run to the Sweet 16, with an 18.7 points per game average. In the season-ending loss to the Creighton Bluejays, Langborg posted a career-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. His play on college basketball’s biggest stage undoubtedly made him a highly touted transfer.
Numerous schools were interested in Langborg’s services. The final five schools he was considering were all from Power-6 conferences (SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big East, ACC, and the Big 12). Those schools, according to Langborg, were Northwestern, Oregon, USC, Georgetown, and Minnesota.
With the departure of Langborg, the Tigers will have a major hole to fill both offensively and defensively. The senior averaged 12.7 points per game his senior year and led the team in three-pointers per game (2.1). Perhaps an underrated part of his game was his on-ball defense, which often went unnoticed by the naked eye.
It will be interesting to see what head coach Mitch Henderson ’98 does next season after losing three of his starters (Langborg, Keeshawn Kellman, and Tosan Evbuomwan), who will not be easy to replace.
Langborg is the last of the Tigers’ three senior starters to make their decision for next year: Kellman will be playing at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Evbuomwan entered his name in the NBA draft.
Moving forward, the losses will undoubtedly leave an impact on the Tigers. On the other hand, the Wildcats will look to build upon their success from last season and get the most out of Langborg.
Hayk Yengibaryan is an assistant editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
Diego Uribe is an assistant editor for Sports and contributor for News at the ‘Prince.’
Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.