NBA D-League Santa Cruz Golden State Warriors

By Charlotte Gibson on November 26, 2012

The city of Santa Cruz is known for its breathtaking landscape, sensational surf, advanced university, and unique atmosphere.  For many years, people have not associated Surf City with professional athletics or any athletics for that matter; however, this past October, Santa Cruz became the new home of the NBA Development League team: Santa Cruz Golden State Warriors.

The NBA Development League basketball team affiliated with the Golden State Warriors moved from its former home in Bismarck, N.D. to Santa Cruz, CA.  And thus far, the transformation of the Dakota Wizards into the Santa Cruz Warriors has been making waves with the temporary arena built at 140 Front Street near Beach Hill, a store front and offices positioned on Pacific Avenue, and a 12 player contract enacted for preseason.

Currently the Santa Cruz Warriors have a 12 player contract after waiving players during training camp.  The remaining players on the team have varying college and professional basketball experience and were acquired through the returning player pool, the affiliate player rule, trades, the 2012 NBA D-League Draft and open tryouts.

Amongst the players are Taylor Griffin, Stefhon Hannah, and Justin Johnson who all played with the Dakota Wizards last year and are returning for the inaugural season of Santa Cruz basketball.  Additionally, Lance Goulbourne and Rick Jackson are on the roster via the “affiliate rule,” which states that up to three players who were released from Golden State Warriors training camp can be allocated directly to the D-League.

The remaining roster is a combination of players acquired through trades and the 2012 NBA D-League Draft.  During the first D-League draft in the city’s history, the Santa Cruz Warriors selected Travis Leslie, a 6’4’’ guard from Georgia in the first round.  Leslie, who was picked 47th in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, played 10 games for the Clippers last season and four preseason games this year.  During his last year at the University of Georgia, Leslie averaged 14.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists shooting 49.2% from the field.  Leslie will be a great asset to the team bringing forth a tremendous amount of athleticism and experience.

Starting November 30, the Santa Cruz Warriors will begin their 2012-2013 season with seven-straight road games.  On Sunday, December 23, the Santa Cruz Warriors will host their home-opener against the Bakersfield Jam.  In addition to their home opener, the Santa Cruz Warriors will play three additional games during the holiday season, including a special matinee contest on New Year’s Day against the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Overall the Santa Cruz Warriors will host 24 games in Santa Cruz, with 16 of those contests scheduled to take place on weekends or holidays.  This season marks the inaugural campaign in Santa Cruz for the Golden State Warriors’ NBA D-League team.

For more information on the Santa Cruz Warriors visit www.nba.com/dleague/santacruz

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