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Dozens take part in Santa Cruz Warriors' tryout

Modified: Sunday, Oct 14th, 2012

Participants in the Santa Cruz Warriors' tryout huddle up before taking part in drills on Sunday at Aptos High. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)

APTOS - Some came with hopes of making a dream come true. Others came to perhaps create partnerships and friendships. Others came for the exercise. More than 50 men participated in the Santa Cruz Warriors' open tryout Sunday morning at Aptos High.

Coach Nate Bjorkgren and his coaching staff oversaw all of the drills and exhibition games involving the basketball hopefuls. At times, two scrimmages were held as players tried to show the Warriors' staff they have the talent to make it to the NBA Development League, the stepping stone into the NBA.

It was five nonstop hours of action, and that doesn't include the two hours prior to the start of the 9 a.m. workout, where about 35 hopefuls arrived and took part in a light shootaround.

Bjorkgren started the workout by telling the men his memorable story of Stefhon Hanna, who was the last to sign up at a tryout in Chicago several years ago. Hannah eventually made it onto the Iowa Energy and led the team to the 2011 D-League championship; he was named the Most Valuable Player of the finals.

A season later, Hannah joined the then-Dakota Wizards, the Warriors' prior name, and was named the 2012 D-League Defensive Player of the Year. Hannah will join the team when the season begins Nov. 30.

"Sometimes, all you need is a chance," Bjorkgren told the group of players.

Santa Cruz general manager Kirk Lacob ended the workout by telling his story of how, in high school, he played with current Houston Rocket guard Jeremy Lin, a Palo Alto native. Lin had hopes of playing in the NBA right away but ended up in the D-League and eventually worked his way to appearances with the Rockets, New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.

The Santa Cruz Warriors' management and coaching staff all issued a caution to the players. It wasn't as if one or two players were going to automatically get picked to be on the team. The coaching staff could walk away from the tryout and choose nobody.

But Bjorkgren said after the tryout he did like several players, without naming anyone specific.

He didn't mention the type of player he was looking for. During the tryout, he guided players big and small about how he wanted drills to look. He took notes and chatted with his coaching staff.

For the complete article see the 10-16-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-16-2012 paper.

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