Langdon primed for Euro title run (Basketball)
If it’s May then it must mean Anchorage’s Trajan Langdon is close to a Euroleague title.
For the sixth time in his eight seasons in the overseas equivalent of the NBA, Langdon is in Paris for the Euroleague Final Four. The 33-year-old veteran guard, a two-time champion with his Russian pro team CSKA Moscow, hits the court Friday for a semifinal clash against Regal FC Barcelona.
“I think getting to the Final Four every year has been very special,” he told me. “There definitely is a playoff gear and I try to prepare myself for it every year so I am in my best shape come April and May. With all the games and in such a long season I try to be healthy and fresh for the most important games of the year.”
Langdon, of East High fame, has thrived in Moscow since arriving in 2005, winning championships in 2006 and 2008 and earning Euroleague Finals MVP honors in 2008. And even though CSKA Moscow has made Paris its second home, few predicted this kind of playoff run after injuries forced the Russians to play younger players in key roles.
“I think having a new head coach and still being able to make it, when many speculated early on that we had no chance, that’s what makes this year so special,” Langdon said.
The Alaskan recently broke into the top 10 on the Euroleague’s career scoring and steals lists, and was selected to the Euroleague All-Decade Team.
The 6-foot-3 guard is currently averaging 14.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists per game. But he’s been even better in the playoffs, including a 16-point effort in the semifinal clinching Game 4 victory over Spanish power Caja Laboral and fellow Alaskan Brad Oleson of North Pole.
“I actually spoke to Brad during the series as we guarded each other several times throughout the series,” Langdon said. “He is very competitive and played well the last game and I think he was frustrated at the loss so I didn’t get to see him after Game 4 and haven’t spoken with him since.”
All three of the Alaskans playing in the Euroleague—Langdon, Oleson and Doron Perkins of Anchorage—were on teams that advanced to the Elite Eight.
“I think it is great that all three Alaskans that played in the Euroleague reached the quarterfinals this year and to play against Brad in his first year in the Euroleague was fun and I think a great experience for him,” Langdon said.
In the Final Four, CSKA Moscow will face a powerful Barcelona team that features Ricky Rubio, the 19-year-old wunderkind who turned heads in the Olympics with his flashy game at point guard. Langdon, a shooting guard, will likely square off with Rubio at times. When it happens it’ll be a matchup involving a pair of NBA lottery picks.
“I think Ricky Rubio is an extremely talented and gifted player. His ability to impact the game without scoring and lead his team at 19 years old is amazing,” Langdon said. “Barcelona is a great team with a lot of talent and experience. Rubio is only one piece of the team and I think the most important player and the true leader of the team is (Juan Carlos) Navarro.”
Off the court, Langdon is already feeling the love in Paris as some of the most important people in his life have joined him.
“I will have my parents and sister, my wife and her daughter, my son (Tayden), Louis Wilson and his wife will be here as well,” he said.
He hopes to give them a good show.
“Winning a third European title would be an incredible accomplishment for this team as I think no one but us believe that we can go to Paris and win two games,” Langdon said. “But we’ll see.”