Santa Cruz Warriors

Santa Cruz Warriors
League NBA Development League
Founded 1995
History Dakota Wizards
IBA: 1995–2001
CBA: 2001–2006
NBA D-League: 2006–2012
Santa Cruz Warriors
Arena Kaiser Permanente Arena
Location Santa Cruz, California
Team colors Royal Blue, Golden Yellow, White
General manager Kent Lacob
Head coach Casey Hill
Ownership Golden State Warriors
Affiliation(s) Golden State Warriors
Championships IBA: 1 (2001)
CBA: 2 (2002, 2004)
D-League: 2 (2007, 2015)
Conference titles CBA: 3 (2002, 2003, 2005)
D-League: 1 (2015)
Division titles IBA: 2 (2000, 2001)
D-League: 3 (2007, 2008, 2015)

The Santa Cruz Warriors are an American professional basketball team in the NBA Development League, based in Santa Cruz, California. The team's one-to-one NBA affiliate is the Golden State Warriors, and they play their homes games at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. Prior to the move to Santa Cruz for the 2012–13 season, the team was known as the Dakota Wizards. In 2014–15, the Warriors won their first D-League championship since 2007.


Dakota Wizards

The Wizards began play in 1995 in the International Basketball Association (IBA), and in 2001, with Dave Joerger at the helm, they won the IBA championship in the league's final year of operation.[1]

Following the 2000–01 season, the IBA merged with several teams from the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), and in their first year in the new CBA, Joerger and the Wizards won the league title, defeating the Rockford Lightning. After making it to the semifinals in the 2002–03 season, the Wizards again won the league title in 2004 over the Idaho Stampede, giving Joerger his third title as the Wizards' head coach.[1]

Joerger left the Wizards following the 2003–04 season, and after his departure, the Wizards made it to the semifinals in 2004–05 then missed the playoffs the following season.[1]

Prior to the 2006–07 season, the Wizards joined the NBA Development League, and Joerger returned to Dakota as head coach. He won his fourth title with the Wizards in their first year in the D-League. In the Championship Game, forward Darius Rice came off the Wizards bench to put together a record-setting night that led the Wizards to a 129–121 overtime victory over the Colorado 14ers. Rice scored 52 points and made 11 three-pointers, including one with 4.5 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 109. Rice's points and three-point field goal totals set D-League championship game records.[1]

Between 2007–08 and 2009–10, the Wizards made the playoffs every season but were unable to return to the Finals. This was followed by a 2010–11 season that saw the Wizards miss postseason action for the first time since 2006.

On June 28, 2011, the Golden State Warriors, led by Co-Executive Chairmen Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, purchased the Wizards franchise from Bismarck Professional Basketball LLC. The Warriors became the fourth NBA team to own and operate their own NBA D-League affiliate, joining San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers.[2][3]

The Wizards remained in Bismarck during the 2011–12 season, but the Warriors were open relocating the team to Northern California in 2012. To reflect the new ownership, the Wizards debuted with a new color scheme, the Warriors' blue and gold, used as an alternative to the purple and green, which dates back to their IBA days. The old color scheme was still used with the team's road uniforms, while the blue and gold was used with the home uniforms and the logo. The Wizards were led by Edwin Ubiles in 2011–12, as he helped the team return to the playoffs with a 29–21 record. However, they were unable to move on past the first round following a 2–0 defeat at the hands of the Bakersfield Jam.

Santa Cruz Warriors

Following intense off-season discussions regarding a move, on October 10, 2012, the Golden State Warriors announced that the Dakota Wizards would relocate to Santa Cruz beginning with the 2012–13 season. The team was subsequently renamed the Santa Cruz Warriors.[4][5]

In the 2012 NBA Development League Draft, the Warriors selected Travis Leslie with their first pick (13th overall), as Leslie became a star for the team during the 2012–13 season. On December 23, 2012, the Warriors played their first home game at the Kaiser Permanente Arena after beginning their campaign with seven-straight road games.[6] With Leslie leading the way alongside teammates Jeremy Tyler and Maurice Baker, the Warriors made it through to the D-League Finals in their first season. However, they were defeated 2–0 by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the best-of-three series.[7] Highlights from the team include Golden State assignees Kent Bazemore and Scott Machado, former NBA player Hilton Armstrong, Most Improved Player recipient Cameron Jones, and Stefhon Hannah, who won Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.[8]

Santa Cruz embraced the team during their first season in the city, as the Warriors placed first in the NBA Development League for overall revenue. The team sold $1.2 million in tickets. The average ticket revenue per game, at $52,651, was the highest in the 16-team league. But while the Warriors' ticket prices were the highest in the league – from $15 for bleachers to $140 for courtside seats – popularity was also key to the financial success. The team had the highest average number of individual tickets sold per game at 709, approximately 130 tickets more than its nearest competitor, the Maine Red Claws.[9]

In 2013–14, the Warriors again finished second in the Western Conference – behind the Los Angeles D-Fenders – and despite only the sixth best record in the D-League standings, the Warriors again reached the Finals.[10] However, they were once again outclassed in the best-of-three Finals series, this time losing 2–0 to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.[11] Highlights from the team include the Santa Cruz Warriors' D-League Splash Brothers, with Seth Curry and Mychel Thompson emulating their respective brothers playing for Golden State, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.[12]

In 2014–15, the Warriors finished with a 35–15 record, good for the best record in the Western Conference. They once again made it through to the Finals where they sought out revenge against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. In a clinical display over two games, the Warriors swept the Mad Ants to claim their first D-League championship since 2007, with Finals MVP Elliot Williams leading the way with a game-high 23 points in Game 2.[13]

Season by season

Season League Division/
Finish Wins Losses Pct. Postseason Results
Dakota Wizards
1995–96 IBA 5th 7 17 .292
1996–97 IBA 2nd 17 13 .567 Won Semifinals (Magic City) 2–1
Lost IBA Finals (Black Hills) 2–1
1997–98 IBA West 3rd 14 20 .412
1998–99 IBA West 5th 12 22 .353
1999–2000 IBA West 1st 30 6 .833 Won Division Semifinals (Winnipeg) 2–0
Lost Division Finals (Magic City) 3–1
2000–01 IBA West 1st 30 10 .750 Won Division Semifinals (Magic City) 2–0
Won Division Finals (Saskatchewan) 2–0
Won IBA Finals (Des Moines) 3–2
2001–02 CBA National 1st 26 14 .650 Won Semifinals (Fargo-Moorhead) 3–0
Won CBA Finals (Rockford) 116–109
2002–03 CBA National 1st 31 17 .646 Lost Semifinals (Yakima) 3–1
2003–04 CBA 1st 34 14 .708 Won Semifinals (Rockford) 3–1
Won CBA Finals (Idaho) 132–129
2004–05 CBA Western 1st 32 16 .667 Lost Semifinals (Sioux Falls) 3–1
2005–06 CBA Western 4th 19 29 .396
2006–07 D-League Eastern 1st 33 17 .660 Won Division Finals (Sioux Falls) 115–113
Won D-League Finals (Colorado) 129–121 (OT)
2007–08 D-League Central 1st 29 21 .580 Lost First Round (Sioux Falls) 101–89
2008–09 D-League Central 2nd 27 23 .540 Won First Round (Iowa) 114–109
Lost Semifinals (Utah) 103–93
2009–10 D-League Eastern 3rd 29 21 .580 Lost First Round (Austin) 2–1
2010–11 D-League Eastern 4th 19 31 .380
2011–12 D-League Eastern 2nd 29 21 .580 Lost First Round (Bakersfield) 2–0
Santa Cruz Warriors
2012–13 D-League Western 2nd 32 18 .640 Won First Round (Fort Wayne) 2–0
Won Semifinals (Austin) 2–0
Lost D-League Finals (Rio Grande Valley) 2–0
2013–14 D-League Western 6th 29 21 .580 Won First Round (Los Angeles) 2–0
Won Semifinals (Rio Grande Valley) 2–1
Lost D-League Finals (Fort Wayne) 2–0
2014–15 D-League Western 1st 35 15 .700 Won First Round (Oklahoma City) 2–0
Won Semifinals (Austin) 2–1
Won D-League Finals (Fort Wayne) 2–0
2015–16 D-League Western 5th 19 31 .380
IBA regular season 110 88 .556 1995–2001
CBA regular season 142 90 .612 2001–2006
D-League regular season 281 219 .562 2006–2016
Regular season total 533 397 .573 1995–2016
Playoffs total 41 27 .603 1995–2016

Current roster

Santa Cruz Warriors roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
C 42 Clifford, Dennis 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 260 lb (118 kg) 1992–02–29 Boston C
F 23 Cook, Elgin 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1993–01–15 Oregon
G/F 11 Drisdom, Terrence 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1992–07–30 Cal Poly Pomona
G 3 Hamilton, Alex 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1993–10–05 Louisiana Tech
F 13 Henton, LaDontae 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1992–01–06 Providence
G 9 Jones, Cameron 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1989–05–04 Northern Arizona
G Nwaelele, Dan (I) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1984–03–05 Air Force
C 21 Obekpa, Chris 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1993–11–14 St. John's
G 26 Pressey, Phil (I) 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 177 lb (80 kg) 1991–02–17 Missouri
F 7 Southerland, James 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 221 lb (100 kg) 1990–04–28 Syracuse
G/F 15 Thompson, Mychel 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1988–06–01 Pepperdine
G/F 14 Wood, Scott 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1990–06–21 North Carolina State
Head coach
  • Casey Hill
Assistant coach(es)
  • Ross McMains
  • Kelly Peters

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (NBA) On assignment from NBA affiliate
  • (I) Inactive
  • Injured

Last transaction: 2016–12–17



  1. 1 2 3 4 "Dakota Wizards". August 8, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  2. "Warriors Purchase Dakota Wizards of NBA Development League". June 28, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  3. "Golden State Warriors Purchase Dakota Wizards". June 28, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  4. "NBA Development League Approves Relocation Of Dakota Wizards To Santa Cruz". October 10, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  5. "NBA D-League Approves Relocation of Dakota Wizards to Santa Cruz, Calif.". October 10, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  6. May, Jacob (December 23, 2012). "NBA D-League: Santa Cruz Warriors slam Jam in inaugural home game". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  7. "Santa Cruz Warriors Fall to Rio Grande Valley Vipers in NBA D-League Finals". April 27, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  8. "Infographic: How Santa Cruz Came To Be". April 25, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  9. Brown, J.M. (April 13, 2013). "Winning season: First year for Warriors, Santa Cruz offers financial promise". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  10. "D-League Basketball Playoffs: Warriors earn repeat trip to finals". April 21, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  11. "Fort Wayne Mad Ants Capture 2014 NBA Development League Title". April 26, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  12. "NBA D-League Finals - How They Got There: Santa Cruz Warriors". April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  13. "Santa Cruz Warriors Win the 2015 NBA D-League Championship". April 26, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
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