Alaskans play in Euroleague quarters (Basketball)

March 22, 2010

Two of Alaska’s most accomplished basketball players will square off Tuesday on the Euroleague’s biggest stage as Anchorage’s Trajan Langdon and CSKA Moscow will meet North Pole’s Brad Oleson and Caja Laboral in the Elite Eight.

It’s a matchup made in heaven in The Last Frontier.

Trajan Langdon

With just a handful of Alaskans playing professional basketball, how cool is it that two of them are going head-to-head in a best-of-5 playoff series? Only a Heat-Jazz NBA Finals would be better.

But even then, Langdon and Oleson probably have a stronger local following.

Not to mention there is a possibility that the 33-year-old Langdon and 26-year-old Oleson could matchup at shooting guard, which no doubt is what makes this overseas series so intriguing.

The 6-foot-3 Langdon put Alaska basketball on the map. He was the state’s first three-time player of the year, the first McDonald’s All-American, the first college All-American (Duke) and the first to play in the NBA (Cavs).

He set the standard for other players from here to follow.

Brad Oleson

The 6-foot-3 Oleson never played in the ASAA state tournament and wasn’t really recruited out of high school. Yet he went on to become UAF’s all-time leading scorer and an All-American, leading to a stint in the USBL where he won a championship with Dodge City.

His no-fear persona is the epitome for players from here to follow.

Now they are standing in each other’s way of a trip to the Final Four. Langdon is shooting for his sixth career trip to the Euroleague finals (he’s already got two rings) while Oleson is getting his first taste of the Euroleague playoffs (he’s a rookie).

Either way, we can’t lose as fans.

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