Downtown hoops deemed a success
(Reprinted from the June 26, 2000
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
By JASON SOIFER
Participants and organizers of the Showdown at the Top of
the World 3 on 3 State Championships used two words to
describe the two-day event that concluded Sunday.
Smiling from ear to ear, Cliff Allison, tournament
director, was ecstatic with the amount of participation and
team work exhibited by the athletes, sponsors and residents
who attended the event.
"Once again, the Fairbanks community comes together to
help put on a great show," he said.
Allison said they have been working on this year's event
for years. He credited the numerous volunteers who gave their
time to make the tournament a positive experience for all.
"We couldn't have done it without the support of the
community and the volunteers," he said.
Children as young as five years old participated in the
tournament, according to Allison, who said the show of support
from basketball fans was the most surprising and refreshing
aspect of the weekend event.
"The crowd pleasantly surprised us. It was much more
than we thought it would be," he said.
The effort put into the event wasn't lost on those who
participated in it either.
Josh Adams, one of three high school students from Kotzebue
playing, said he enjoyed playing in the tournament and would
like to come back next year.
Adams, whose trip was sponsored by Coke of North America,
made the trek to Fairbanks on Thursday and his team finished
third in the corporate league. He said one of the highlights
of the tournament was meeting Trajan Langdon, who played at
East Anchorage before attending Duke University and becoming a
first-round pick of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It was a great experience and Coke took really great
care of us," he said.
Teams from as far away as Nome joined local high school
basketball standouts in the event that showcased the talents
of 300 players.
The games were played on Second and Third avenues.
Participating teams paid anywhere from $120 for the
corporate tournament to $40 to attend a basketball clinic.
Each participant also received a T-shirt and met people at the
Those who were on their own weren't left out of the
festivities either, as they could take part in jump-shot and
dunk contests. Prizes included cans of soda, basketballs and
Shirley Winther of Coke North America, said they have been
working with Allison since January to be apart of the
tournament. Winther said she was pleased to be able to bring
Langdon to Fairbanks and she hopes to be a part of next year's
"Everybody that came here said this was the best
event," she said. "It was a success for everyone
"This event shows the excitement of basketball,"
said UAF basketball coach Al Sokaitis. "And it provides a
chance to come out and play in a friendly environment."
Sokaitis said the event also taught some of the kids that
they can play hard and fair against others and learn something
at the same time. He said the event should help to maintain
interest in the sport throughout the year and that he wouldn't
be surprised to see 200 teams sign up next year.
"I think this is going to encourage kids to work on
their game," he said. "The more they play, the
better they will get."