There’s a ping-pong table here, a weight bench there. And, in another area, there’s a plastic, adjustable basketball hoop in the basement of this New Market house where four brothers have grown up.
That miniature hoop has seen better days, but it’s still standing — backboard-less and doctored with duct tape to keep the rim, at least, attached to the pole.
“We don’t really mess around on that hoop anymore,” said Sean Lang, the third of the aforementioned siblings. “It’s out of [commission], I’d say.”
It served its purpose. And now it can serve as something of a monument to what it may have helped build — which, at this point, is a trio of college basketball players.
That number ticked up one more to three earlier this month when Sean, a recent Linganore High grad, decided to attend Mercyhurst University, where he’ll play Division II basketball and continue the Lancer Langs’ march into the college hoops ranks.
In Erie, Pennsylvania, Sean will join one of his older brothers, Nicholas — a guard and Linganore alum who started 24 games for the Lakers in 2019-20.
“I imagine it’s really, really rare,” said Linganore boys coach Chris O’Connor when asked about the odds of a family producing so many men’s college basketball players. “There’s another one, too. [Ryan Lang will] be a junior next year, and odds are he’ll play college basketball, too.”
Sean Lang, a second team All-County pick last season, first realized he had a chance to play at the next level toward the end of his junior year, when college coaches began expressing interest.
He said he never felt pressure, though, to be the next brother in line to commit to a college program.
“Personally, I just loved playing basketball,” the 6-foot-3 guard said.
It runs in the family, starting with the patriarch, Tom Lang, who was a walk-on at Georgetown in the 1980s and played a clear role in his offspring’s interest in the game.
“There was always basketball talk, and there still is basketball talk,” Sean Lang said of their household.
The boys could feed their appetite for the sport on that mini hoop in the basement or outside, where there was a more traditional basket. O’Connor lives nearby and frequently drives past their home, where he said there’s typically a combination of Lang boys out front, engrossed in a game of some sort.
“All of them are extremely competitive kids,” O’Connor said. “With Sean, you wouldn’t know the difference between a practice and a game. He approaches it exactly the same.
“He’s still diving on the floor for the ball in mid- to late-January his senior season.”
Sean had slowly narrowed his college choices to a handful, two of which were no surprise: Mercyhurst and Shepherd, where another older brother and former Lancer, Thomas, just wrapped up his four years by leading the Rams in scoring in 2019-20.
Both older brothers had talked to their college coaches about Sean.
Sean had been to several games at Mercyhurst to watch Nicholas, who was part of the Lakers’ D-II Elite Eight squad in 2019. Then, to solidify his decision, he traveled with his mother to the campus recently to walk around, just to make sure it felt right.
Of course, it helped that he’d become familiar with the Lakers’ brand of play, which focuses on half-court offense and stingy defense. He spent plenty of time watching Mercyhurst games via livestream last season. When he talked with coach Gary Manchel, “He just said I was the perfect fit for the way they played,” Sean said.
O’Connor would attest to Sean’s style fit. He’s a steady wing who shoots well, embraces big moments and relishes the team aspect of the game.
“He’s just a quiet stat-filler,” O’Connor said of Sean, who averaged 11.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season. “You have no idea who he is, who he was until you look at the stat sheet after the game.”
Sean was a key reason the Lancers won the Central Maryland Conference championship in February. He fondly recalls the memories he made at Linganore, including some game-winning buzzer-beaters (he hit one as a junior at South Hagerstown), this year’s crown and the fact he got to play with two of his brothers.
At his next destination, where he plans to major in sports management on a partial academic scholarship, he will continue a family affair with a teammate he’s known his entire life.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Sean, who hopes to work his way to some basketball scholarship money at Mercyhurst. “Ever since [Nicholas] first went there, I remember him mentioning a couple of times that I could definitely play there. I always thought it was a possibility.”