Antone Araujo, center and back, is playing for the Alaskan Native TruGame team at the Jr. NBA Global Championships Northwest Regional in Oregon. (Courtesy Photo | Todd Araujo)

Antone Araujo, center and back, is playing for the Alaskan Native TruGame team at the Jr. NBA Global Championships Northwest Regional in Oregon. (Courtesy Photo | Todd Araujo)

Young Tlingit hoopster wins spot on all-Alaska Native team

Antone Araujo’s family proud for him to represent heritage at junior NBA tourney

Antone Araujo is used to taking the basketball court against teams from Sitka, Haines and Ketchikan.

This summer, however, the 13-year-old Juneau boy will have the opportunity to play teams from much farther-away lands like Mexico, China and India.

Araujo, who plays on a travel team with the Hoop Rats Basketball Club, was selected to play on an all-Alaska Native team (“Alaskan Native TruGame”) at the Jr. NBA Global Championship Northwest Regional this weekend in Beaverton, Oregon. The team members were nominated by a variety of coaches and community members from around the state.

The winning boys and girls teams from the Northwest regional will join 30 others from around the country and world at the Jr. NBA Global Championship tournament in Orlando, Florida, from Aug. 6-11. Araujo, was not immediately available for comment for this article, is Tlingit, Athabascan and Aquinnah Wampanoag from Martha’s Vineyard.

“This is a definitely a unique opportunity and I know he’s taking it very seriously in terms of not everybody gets the invite,” Antone’s dad, Todd, said by phone Thursday. “So he wants to make sure he makes a good impression not only for himself, but obviously for his community, whether it’s the Tlingit community, Juneau, and his family.”

Alaska fielded one boys and one girls teams to play in the inaugural Northwest regional last year in Salem, Oregon, with the boys team coming in second place. The Northwest region encompasses Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

The Jr. NBA regional tournaments began in January and will be wrapped up by the end of the month.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.

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