Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday Where Are They Now?: Trajan Langdon

Ever wonder what happened to those college stars that couldn't catch on in the NBA? The guys that put up the great numbers or the guys that left early, and were never heard from again? Every Wednesday, we at BIAH will take a look at a former college star that never made it in the NBA, and we will update you on where he is playing or what he is doing. We're guessing the results will surprise you. To request a player, leave a comment in the comments section.

Trajan Langdon, Duke

Trajan Langdon was another one of those Duke guys you love to hate. Coming out of Alaska, where he was three-time state player of the year, Langdon was not only a Mickey D's all-american headed to Duke and named high school student-athlete of the year, but he was also a sixth round pick of the San Diego Padres in 1994 (he even played minor league baseball for three summers during college, making it as high as low A ball).

Langdon went on the have a fantastic career for Duke. He became only the fourth freshman (at the time) to average double figures under Coach K, putting up 11.3 ppg. Langdon started to develop a reputation as a cold-blooded shooter (hence the moniker the Alaskan Assassin) during his freshman campaign, as he would have his best games during Duke's biggest games, including a 23 point, 6 three-pointer outburst in the final regular season contest at UNC. He had to redshirt the 1995-1996 season due to lingering knee and ankle problems, but came back with a vengeance to average nearly identical numbers the next two years (14 ppg, 2.5 3's per) while taking home first-team ACC honors both seasons. 

Langdon's senior season was his best. His was named first team all-america after averaging 17.3 ppg and 3.3 3's per while shooting 44% from deep. He would carry Duke all the way to the Finals, and despite his two miscues costing Duke the title, Langdon was selected by the Cavs with the 11th pick in the 1999 draft. He never could find the success in the league that he had in college because, despite being a terrific shooter, he couldn't create his own shot and had the defensive ability of a barcalounger. He hung around for three seasons (his rookie contract), but never averaged more than 6.0 ppg.

Langdon did, however, find success playing overseas, where he continued his winning ways. Langdon bounced around Europe for a while. His first stop was with Benetton Treviso in 2002-03, where he averaged 15.9 ppg in Italian League play, winning the Italian League title, and then 14.8 ppg in Euroleague play. The next season he spent in Turkey with Efes Pilsen, where he led them to a TBL title and went on the average 14.6 ppg in the Euroleague. The following summer, he got a tryout with the Clippers, but feeling like he wasn't given a chance, Langdon headed back to Europe, where he signed with Dynamo Moscow. There, his team failed to qualify for the Euroleague, but they did reach the ULEB, where Langdon averaged 14.4 ppg.

During the 2005-06 season, Langdon decided to head across town to play for Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow (a team whose biggest supporter is none other than Vladmir Putin). Langdon has been with CSKA since, and recently signed a contract that will keep him there through at least 2009-10. CSKA would win three Russian championships over the next three years, as well as two Euroleague titles ('06 and most recently '08, and they lost in the '07 finals). He was named to the all-Euroleague second team in 2005-06, was a first-team selection in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and won Finals MVP in CSKA's championship run last season. Next year, he will team up with Terrence Morris from Maryland, Erazom Lorbek from Michigan State, and JR Holden from Bucknell (Side Note: Holden actually pulled a Becky Hammon and is currently on the Russian national team).

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