Alaska’s Greatest NCAA D1 Player Bracket: Field down to last 4
Our 64-player bracket to determine Alaska’s Greatest NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Player has reached the final four.
The Big 3 + 1.
Mario Chalmers of Anchorage, Carlos Boozer of Juneau, Trajan Langdon of Anchorage and Kyle Bailey of Fairbanks.
When it comes to the greatest D1 players from Alaska, these are the faces that make up Alaska’s Mount Rushmore.
Boozer, Chalmers and Langdon were locks to make the final four.
The coveted fourth spot was up for grabs between a handful of all-stars like Muff Butler, Damen Bell-Holter and Chris Devine.
Bailey, however, was a one-of-a-kind college player from the 49th state, arguably the most versatile.
That’s not an exaggeration. Bailey is the only D1 player from Alaska to accumulate 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 100 steals and 200 3-pointers in a career. His footprint was impossible to ignore.
This story breaks down all four matchups in the elite eight and details decisions made by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams, who created the bracket and picked the first four rounds.
Moving forward, however, Williams will not pick the final two rounds and instead get votes from group of former and current D1 Alaska players, and Alaska coaches who coached D1 players.
Together, the group will determine who is Alaska’s Greatest NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Player.
Here is how the elite eight played out:
ELITE EIGHT ROUND
2 Kyle Bailey (Santa Clara) d. 1 Damen Bell-Holter (Oral Roberts)
Nobody remembers the fourth Musketeer.
It’s time to put some respect on his name. Bailey put up big-time numbers over his four-year career at Santa Clara, earned national respect and bounced back from a knee injury to play his best basketball as a senior.
Bailey (Lathrop High) epitomizes Alaska’s overlooked status – a small-conference guy from a not-so-big school.
But dude got down at Santa Clara.
As a senior in 2004-05, he averaged 26.3 points in three games against top-20 teams. He pumped in 20 points in a win over No. 4 North Carolina and had 26 points in a loss to No. 11 Gonzaga.
He is one of two Alaskans with career highs of at least 30 points and 14 rebounds. He also had eight assists and six 3-pointers, both top-5 all-time for Alaska.
To get a sense of Bailey, watch this video clip.
The two-time All-West Coast Conference player is Alaska’s all-time assists leader and ranks in the top-5 in a bunch of categories.
Bailey is fourth in games (127), third in points (1,571), sixth in rebounds (513), first in assists (452), second in steals (166), second in 3-pointers (225) and fifth in free throws (342).
Even though Bailey is a 2 seed and Bell-Holter a 1 seed, this was barely an upset. The players were virtually tied in the 64-man player rankings, separated by just one spot.
Bell-Holter was a double-double machine at Oral Roberts and tops Alaska’s all-time list in rebounds.
The 6-foot-9 forward posted 25 double-doubles in his final 95 games and averaged 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds as a senior in the 2012-13 season. He was named All-Summit League in 2011 and All-Southland Conference in 2013.
His career-high 35 points rank No. 3 for an Alaskan and his career-high 20 rebounds are No. 1. He often cleaned the glass and had other games with 17, 15, 14 (4 times) and 13 (5 times) boards.
Bell-Holter (Ketchikan High) ranks sixth all-time among Alaska at the D1 level in games (119), fifth in points (1,389), first in rebounds (878), third in blocked shots (139), fourth in free throws (377).
ELITE EIGHT ROUND
1 Carlos Boozer (Duke) d. 2 Chris Devine (Santa Barbara)
The best big man out of Alaska, Boozer was a walking bucket.
The crafty 6-foot-9 power forward still holds Duke’s career record for field-goal percentage (.632) – 18 years after he played.
Boozer (Juneau-Douglas High) is one of three Alaskans to earn All-American honors. He was also named All-ACC and ACC All-Freshman Team.
He won a NCAA championship in 2001 and was named ACC Tournament MVP in 2002.
As a junior in 2001-02, Boozer averaged 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds. His scoring average is tied for No. 1 among Alaskans and his rebounds average ranks No. 2.
To check out Boozer in action, watch this video clip.
Boozer is first all-time among Alaskans in field-goal percentage (.632), second in rebounds (724), second in free throws (398), sixth in scoring (1,506) and sixth in blocked shots (72).
His career highs were 33 points and 13 rebounds.
Boozer played in 10 NCAA Tournament games and ranks third among Alaskans with 127 points. He is one of two Alaskans to collect double-doubles in the Big Dance but the only one to do it twice, including a 12-point, 12-rebound effort against Arizona in the 2001 title game.
Devine is Alaska’s lone four-time all-conference selection in a D1 league and one of two Alaskans to average double figures in scoring for four seasons.
The 6-foot-8 forward is also one of only three Alaskans to collect season highs of at least 29 points and 14 rebounds. He is the state’s record holder with 400 career free throws.
Devine (Chugiak High) set a Santa Barbara freshman records for points (355) and is one of two players in school history to earn All-Big West Conference honors four consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2009. He was named to the Gauchos Team of the Decade.
He ranks No. 2 all-time among Alaskans with 1,607 career points. He’s sixth in games (119), third in rebounds (723), fifth in field-goal percentage (.525) and eighth in steals (130).
ELITE EIGHT ROUND
1 Trajan Langdon (Duke) d. 3 Muff Butler (New Orleans)
Butler might be the godfather of Alaska basketball, but Langdon was a god at Duke.
One of the greatest jump shooters in NCAA history, Langdon was dubbed ‘The Alaskan Assassin’ by Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Vitale. His college career in the 1990s probably did more to put Alaska on the map than any other player.
He left Duke in 1999, but still ranks No. 2 all-time in school history for career 3-pointers (342), career 3-point percentage (.426) and career free-throw percentage (.861).
Langdon (East High) is Alaska’s only two-time All-American. He is the only Alaskan to earn first team all-conference honors three times – in the ACC, no less. He is the only Alaskan to make 100 3s in a season.
To watch Langdon do his thing, check out this video clip.
The 6-foot-3 guard ranks first all-time among Alaskans in games (136), points (1,974) and 3-pointers (342). He’s third in free throws (386), sixth in assists (255) and tenth in steals (120).
When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, Langdon is tied for first among Alaskans with 11 appearances and he’s No. 1 with 158 points. His tournament scoring highs of 25, 24 and 23 points ranks 1-2-3 among Alaskans.
He helped Duke reach the 1999 NCAA title game, losing to UConn. He was the 1999 East Regional Most Outstanding Player.
Langdon was the first Alaskan to score 30 points at the D1 level in 1997, when he broke Butler’s state record of 27 points set in 1982.
Butler was the first household name to come out of the state, a sensational scorer and defender who still resonates with Alaskans 40 years later.
The 6-foot-1 guard played two seasons at New Orleans, scoring 681 points. He ranks eighth all-time among Alaskans with 240 assists. His 90 steals are top-15.
Butler (East High) still holds the Alaska single-season assist record set all the way back in 1981-82 when he averaged 5.5 per game for New Orleans. No Alaskan has averaged even 5 since then.
The Privateers had a 41-15 record in two seasons with Butler on the court and in 1983 he became the first Alaskan to play in the NIT.
Butler’s career .558 field-goal percentage ranks No. 3 all-time among Alaskans – No. 1 among guards. Remember that he played before the 3-pointer was added to the game.
ELITE EIGHT ROUND
1 Mario Chalmers (Kansas) d. 3 Devon Bookert (Florida State)
When you think of Chalmers, you think of ‘The Shot.’
In 2008, he cemented his name in Kansas Jayhawk history after hitting one of the biggest shots in NCAA Tournament history.
With his team trailing 63-60 in the final seconds of the national championship game against Memphis, Chalmers pulled up off-the-dribble and drained a 3-pointer with a hand in his face to tie the game with 2.1 seconds left.
The game went into overtime, Kansas won the title and Chalmers was the hero.
To watch Chalmers hit the big shot, watch this video clip.
That shot capped a captivating college career.
Chalmers (Bartlett High) was the 2008 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2007 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and 2006 Big 12 Tournament MVP.
He ranks No. 2 all-time among Alaskans with 150 points in the NCAA Tournament. He is tied for first with 11 appearances, leading KU to a 9-2 record in those games.
The 6-foot-1 Chalmers was a three-time All-Big 12 selection and three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team pick. He ranks 1-2-3 among Alaskans in season steals with 2.7, 2.6 and 2.5 averages.
His career highs were 30 points, eight assists and seven steals.
On Alaska’s all-time list, he ranks first in steals (283), second in assists (420), fourth in 3-pointers (180) and sixth in points (1,341). He is tenth in career field-goal percentage (.486), No. 3 among guards.
Bookert had a knack for making big shots and ranks first among Alaskans in NIT appearances (8) and points (60) for Florida State.
He took over the 2014 NIT, producing a 21-point, 9-assist effort to help FSU beat Georgetown in the second round and then scoring seven points in the final 21 seconds of regulation, including a game-tying, buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the top of the key to force overtime against Minnesota in the semifinals.
Bookert (West High) was especially clutch and had two game-winners to his credit.
The 6-foot-3 guard became the first player in FSU history to shoot better than 50 percent from 3-point land. He still holds the school record for single-season 3-point percentage (.525) and ranks third for career percentage (.419).
On the all-time list among Alaskans, Bookert ranks third in games (131), tenth in points (1,120), fourth in assists (347), fifth in steals (139) and third in 3s (188).