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27 Teams in 27 Days: Meet The Santa Cruz Warriors

By Jake Winderman | September 10, 2018

Team: Santa Cruz Warriors

First Season: 1995-1996 (Dakota Wizards- I.B.A.), 2006-2007 (Dakota Wizards- NBA G League)

Affiliate: Golden State Warriors

Location: Santa Cruz, California

Arena: Kaiser Permanente Arena

Head Coach: Aaron Miles

Former Franchise Names: Dakota Wizards (1995-2006)

2017-2018 Finish: 23-27 (3rd in Pacific Division)

2017-2018 Accolades: Quinn Cook (All-NBA G League First Team), NBA G League Franchise Of The Year

2018 NBA G League 1st Round Pick(s): 10th, 17th (From South Bay), 18th (From Erie)

Current Two-Way Players: Damion Lee (Louisville)

Notable Alumni: Quinn Cook, Kent Bazemore, MarShon Brooks, Seth Curry, Xavier Henry, Justin Holliday, Terrence Jones, Sean Kilpatrick, Patrick McCaw, Georges Niang, Diamond Stone, Mychel Thompson

The Santa Cruz Warriors organization debuted as the Dakota Wizards in Bismarck, North Dakota during the 1995-1996 season. They played in the International Basketball Association from 1995 until 2001. The team won the I.B.A. Championship in their final year in the league. From 2001-2006, the Wizards played in the Continental Basketball Association, winning the title in 2002 and 2004.

Before the 2006-2007 season, the Wizards joined the NBA G League. The squad was coached by current Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger, who had led the franchise to three combined titles in the I.B.A. and C.B.A. Dakota continued their winning ways, taking home the 2007 NBA G League championship in their first season in the league. The Wizards spent six total seasons in North Dakota, qualifying for the playoffs in five of them. Dakota had seven players named to All-NBA G League teams including Renaldo Major (First Team), Sean Banks (Second Team), Carlos Powell (Third Team), Rod Benson (Second Team), Blake Ahearn (First Team), Chris Johnson (First Team) and Edwin Ubiles (First Team).

In June of 2011, the Dakota Wizards were purchased by the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors became the fourth team in league history to own and operate their own NBA G League franchise along with the Spurs, Lakers and Thunder. The Wizards spent the 2011-2012 season in Bismarck, before moving to Santa Cruz.

In their first three seasons in the Bay Area, the Warriors made the NBA G League Finals three straight times, winning the championship in 2015, their second in the G League.

The Santa Cruz franchise as a whole is the second-winningest franchise in NBA G League history, trailing only the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Warriors have won 55.8% of all the games they’ve ever played in and have only missed the playoffs twice since entering the NBA G League. During the 2017-2018 season, Santa Cruz had four NBA Call-Ups including Antonius Cleveland (Mavericks/Hawks), Georges Niang (Jazz) and Damion Lee (Hawks).

Quinn Cook, who was a crucial role player for the Golden State Warriors in their 2017-2018 championship run, was named to the 2018 All-NBA G League First Team. Cook played in 29 games with Santa Cruz, averaging 25.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game while on a two-way contract with the organization.

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