Basketball Wiki
Santa Cruz Warriors
Santa Cruz Warriors
League NBA D-League
Division Western
Founded 1995
History Dakota Wizards
IBA: 1995–2001
CBA: 2001–2006
NBA D-League: 2006–2012
Santa Cruz Warriors
Arena Kaiser Permanente Arena
City Santa Cruz, California
Team colors Royal Blue, Golden Yellow, White
Head coach Casey Hill
Owner Golden State Warriors
Championships Dakota Wizards
(4) 2 CBA 1 IBA 1 D-League
Santa Cruz Warriors
Division/conference titles Dakota Wizards
(8) 4 CBA 2 IBA 2 D-League
Santa Cruz Warriors
Affiliations Golden State Warriors

The Santa Cruz Warriors are an American basketball team in the NBA Development League, based in Santa Cruz, California. Home games are played at the Kaiser Permanente Arena. Prior to the move to Santa Cruz for the 2012-2013 season, the team was known as the Dakota Wizards.


Dakota Wizards[]

The team was previously known as the Dakota Wizards and was founded in 1995 as a member of the International Basketball Association, a basketball circuit based in the northern United States and western Canada. In the IBA's final year of operation, the 2000-01 season, the Wizards took the IBA title. The IBA merged with several teams from the CBA in 2001 while it was expected that the smaller, regional IBA franchises would not survive against the stronger CBA squads. The team though performed well with a regular season record of 26-14, and a single-elimination 116-109 win over the Rockford Lightning in the CBA's championship game. The team was favored to win the title in the 2002-03 season, but lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champion, the Yakama Sun Kings. The team finished with a 34-14 regular season record, which placed them as the top team in the league in their third season. They beat the Rockford Lightning 3-1 in the best-of-five semi-finals of the playoffs, and in the winner-take-all championship game, they beat the Idaho Stampede 132-129.

After the 2003-2004 season, coach Dave Joerger left the team for a coaching opportunity with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The team announced that former assistant coach Casey Owens would become the head coach and Brian Walsh would become the assistant. The team lost their opening two games versus the Skyforce, but then cruised to a 12-game winning streak before losing to Sioux Falls on New Year's Eve, 2004. The team also lost two potential all-stars, Billy Keys and Dickey Simpkins, who left the team in mid-season to play overseas. In the end, the team clinched home court advantage throughout the 2005 playoffs with a league-best 32-16 record. Dakota split their first four playoff games with their first-round opponents, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, until Sioux Falls won game five with a 102-97 victory.

After the 2004-05 season, head coach Casey Owens was replaced by former Baylor University head coach Dave Bliss. The team's ownership never made it clear why Owens was not offered a new contract after coaching the team to the best record in the CBA in 2004-05. Hiring Bliss caused some controversy among basketball fans, as Bliss was previously involved in a basketball scandal involving the death of one of his Baylor University players, Patrick Dennehy. Dave Bliss then resigned after the 2005-2006 season, in which the team finished 19-29 and missed the playoffs. The team was widely speculated that they were going to fold, but on April 1, the team announced a three-year lease agreement with their arena. Five days later, on April 6, they announced they were switching to the NBA Development League.

On May 25, 2006, the team announced that Dave Joerger would be returning as the team's Head Coach for the 2006-2007 NBA Development League season. He was signed to a two-year deal. A few weeks later it was announced that the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards would be the team's NBA affiliates. The number of affiliates varied from team to team. Some had three affiliates, some had two, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders had one. As former CBA teams, the team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Idaho Stampede had more experience in signing players, so they were given two affiliates each. The less experienced teams were given three. On April 29, 2007, the team won the D-League championship, defeating the Colorado 14ers 129-121 in overtime.

On June 22, 2007, the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA hired Wizards coach Dave Joerger as an assistant coach along with Johnny Davis and Gordon Chiesa. As a result of the Grizzlies hiring Joerger, the Wizards became affiliated with the Grizzlies, while the Bulls were bumped to a more regional team, the expansion Iowa Energy. Since the departure of Dave Joerger, the team were coached by Duane Ticknor during the next two season, in which they made the play-offs both times, but never made it to the finals. Rory White was given the coaching position for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons, making the play-offs during his first year, but barely missing out during the second year. It was the first time the Wizards failed to make a postseason appearance since 2005-2006, and just the second time since 1998-1999.

On June 28, 2011, the team was sold to the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association, making it the fourth D-League team to be fully owned and operated by an NBA team. The team remained in Bismarck during the 2011-2012 season, but the Warriors were looking to relocate the team to California the following season. To reflect the new ownership, the team 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 is still used with the team's road uniforms, while the blue and gold is used with the home uniforms and the logo.

Santa Cruz Warriors[]

On April 4, 2012, the Golden State Warriors announced their intent to relocate the team to Santa Cruz, California in time for the 2012-13 season. The decision was approved by the Santa Cruz City Council on May 22. The team was then renamed Santa Cruz Warriors. A $3.5 million loan from the city was given for the construction of a venue, the Kaiser Permanente Arena.[1] Travis Leslie was picked up on the 2012 NBA Development League Draft, and would later become the team's star.[2]

On December 23, 2012, the Santa Cruz Warriors played their home opener against the Bakersfield Jam after having spent the season on a seven-game road trip. Both Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler from the Golden State Warriors were on the lineup. [3] Even with Leslie's injuries and a short but unsuccessful call-up from the Utah Jazz, the Warriors finished third overall in the league, and only two games behind the Bakersfield Jam in the Western Division. Highlights of the team included Golden State assignee Scott Machado, former NBA players Hilton Armstrong and Jeremy Tyler, Most Improved Player winner Cameron Jones, and Stefhon Hannah, who won Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.[2] Santa Cruz embraced the team, and the Warriors lead the league in overall revenue with $1.2 million, and despite having having the most expensive tickets of the D-League, also had the highest average number of individual tickets sold per game with 709, and ticket revenue per game, at $52,651.[4] The team reached the 2013 D-League finals, where it got swept by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.[5]

On August 23, 2013, the Warriors announced Casey Hill as the head coach for the 2013–14 season.[6] Again the Warriors were second in the West - behind the Los Angeles D-Fenders - and despite only the sixth best record in the D-League standings, the Warriors again reached the Finals.[7][8] Like in the previous year, Santa Cruz was swept in the title matches, losing to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The Warriors finished with the best record in the league for 2014-15 at 35-15 and for the third straight season reached the finals, once again against the Mad Ants. This time the Warriors won, sweeping the Mad Ants for their first championship in Santa Cruz[9]

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 West 1st 32 16 .667 Lost Semifinals (Sioux Falls) 3-2
2005–06 CBA West 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 Round 1 (Sioux Falls) 101-89
2008–09 D-League Central 2nd 27 23 .540 Won Round 1 (Iowa) 114-109
Lost Semifinals (Utah) 103-93
2009–10 D-League Eastern 3rd 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 (Austin) 2-1
2010–11 D-League Eastern 4th 19 31 .380
2011–12 D-League Eastern 2nd 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 (Bakersfield) 2-0
Santa Cruz Warriors
2012–13 D-League Western 2nd 32 18 .640 Won Round 1 (Fort Wayne) 2-0
Won Semifinals (Austin) 2-0
Lost D-League Finals (Rio Grande Valley) 0-2
2013–14 D-League Western 6th 29 21 .580 Won Round 1 (Los Angeles) 2-0
Won Semifinals (Rio Grande Valley) 2-1
Lost D-League Finals (Fort Wayne) 0-2
2014–15 D-League Western 1st 35 15 .700 Won Round 1 (Oklahoma City) 2-0
Won Semifinals (Austin) 2-1
Won D-League Finals (Fort Wayne) 2-0
Regular season total 514 366 .584 1995–2015
IBA regular season 110 88 .556 1995–2001
CBA regular season 142 90 .612 2001–2006
D-League regular season 262 188 .582 2006–2015
Playoffs total 42 27 .609 1995–2015

Current roster[]

Template:Santa Cruz Warriors roster

Players assigned by NBA teams[]

Players recalled by NBA teams[]

Players called up by NBA teams[]



External links[]

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