Since taking over CSKA Moscow in 2002, former disc jockey Sergey Kushchenko has tapped American resources in striving to create an open-market, profitable environment for basketball in Russia.
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Kushchenko's team plays home games at the CSKA Universal Sports Hall, a 5,500-seat arena originally constructed for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Innovations under the progressive leader include elaborate cheerleading routines complete with spinning disco lights and Elvis impersonators.
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CSKA's prized import
J.R. Holden, an all-Patriot League first team member at Bucknell during the mid-1990s, has emerged as one of Europe's best point guards during six seasons with CSKA. Naturalized in 2003, Holden became a national hero after his 17-foot jumper with 2.1 seconds left gave Russia a stunning 60-59 victory over Spain in last September's European championships.
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Russian Cup: CSKA Moscow 51, UNICS Kazan 50
Fanatical supporters of UNICS Kazan cheer their side in the Russian Cup semifinals against CSKA Moscow. But Holden's double-double -- with13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds -- helps CSKA escape with a 51-50 victory.
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The Alaskan Assassin abroad
Alaska native Trajan Langdon, an All-America selection during his senior season at Duke in 1999, helped propel CSKA to a Euroleague championship in 2006 and a runner-up finish in last year's tournament.
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In the shadow of the Kremlin
Holden and Langdon, CSKA Moscow teammates since 2005, play their home games in a complex not far from Red Square.
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The amenities of a rich club
Holden speaks with a teammate in the CSKA Moscow's modernized locker room. The team's $40 million budget ranks CSKA among the richest clubs in Europe.
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Thodorís Papaloukás, a native of Greece, has played for CSKA since 2002. The versatile "point forward" is best-known among American basketball fans for his standout performance in Greece's upset of the United States in the semifinals of the 2006 FIBA World Championships. Papaloukás carved up the American defense with a game-high 12 assists, adding eight points in a 101-95 stunner.
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Russian Superleague: CSKA Moscow 68, Khimki 64
Khimki forward Anton Ponkerashow drives to the goal for two of his game-high 17 points against CSKA in a Russian Superleague game. But CSKA rallies in the fourth quarter for a 68-64 victory, spurred by Langdon's team-high 16 points.
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Western sporting traditions
A cheerleader performs a routine during a break in play in CSKA Moscow's victory over Khimki.
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