Romeo Langford (copy)

New Albany’s Romeo Langford swats Khristian Lander’s shot during the Bulldogs’ 75-50 victory over Evansville Reitz at the Doghouse on Jan. 20, 2018. Lander announced Monday that he has reclassified to the Class of 2020 and will follow in Langford’s footsteps and attend Indiana this fall.

BLOOMINGTON — Khristian Lander, one of the nation’s top point guards, will suit up for Indiana University one season ahead of schedule.

Monday, Hoosiers head coach Archie Miller announced that the Evansville Reitz student has decided to reclassify from the Class of 2021 to the Class of 2020 and signed his letter-of-intent so that he can play for IU in the 2020-21 campaign.

The 6-foot-2 Lander is a five-star recruit, who entered Monday as the nation’s 12th-best prospect in the 2021 ESPN 60. By Monday afternoon, he had been moved to the No. 17 recruit in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports.com and No. 24 by Rivals.com.

“I knew when I first saw Khristian at 15 years old, that he was a special player,” Miller said in a statement released by the athletic department. “He has great feel for the point guard position. His competitive drive has pushed him to elevate his game rapidly and his family has done a great job of keeping him grounded and humble.

“We are thankful to his family, the trust that goes into this is not easy. Indiana University and Bloomington is the perfect stage for him to grow on, and off, the court, as well as a student on campus.”

Lander averaged 21 points, six assists and 4.6 rebounds this past season for the Panthers, who went 17-7 and won the Evansville North Sectional title. During the regular season, Reitz beat Floyd Central 52-50 but lost to New Albany (84-60) and Jeffersonville (70-69 in overtime).

Lander, who scored 1,314 points in three seasons at Reitz, will likely vie for playing time with Rob Phinisee next season. Though Phinisee has started each of his first two years with the Hoosiers, he has fought through injuries both seasons.

Lander will join a recruiting class that includes Indiana’s Mr. Basketball Anthony Leal (Bloomington South), Trey Galloway (Culver Academies) and Jordan Geronimo (St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H.) that is now ranked 13th in the country by 247 Sports. Leal was a first-team All-State selection by the Associated Press, while Galloway and Lander were second-team picks.

“He is a tremendous addition to our program not just as a basketball player, but a great person and terrific student,” Miller said. “He cares a great deal about his teammates and winning. It speaks volumes about him wanting this opportunity now and bypassing all of the high school accolades and opportunities he has in front of him to enjoy like most want so often.”

Lander would’ve been a frontrunner for Mr. Basketball next season. With Lander now out of the mix, that likely means that Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian junior power forward Caleb Furst and Silver Creek junior forward Trey Kaufman will be the top candidates for the state’s highest individual honor.

News and Tribune sports editor Josh Cook contributed to this report.

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