New season, new coach, same goal.
The Santa Cruz Warriors showcased their 2013 roster, with just four returning players, Wednesday on media day at Kaiser Permanente Arena.
First-year head coach Casey Hill will be leading the Warriors into a new era, which begins tomorrow with the first day of training camp.
“It’s overdue,” Hill said. “It’s been like an itch that I can’t scratch. Tomorrow is going to be great.”
Hill, an assistant coach last season, stepped into the position after last year’s head coach Nate Bjorkgren moved in to the Iowa energy.
While he wants to continue the success that Bjorkgren had, he has already made some big changes and moves.
In the past week the Warriors created their own version of the splash brothers by picking up Seth Curry, brother of Golden State’s Steph Curry, and trading for Mychel Thompson, brother of Klay Thompson.
Curry said he hasn’t read that much into it.
“I think it’s kind of funny,” Curry said. “I hope we can knock down some threes like the splash brothers 1.0”
Curry was first picked up by the Golden State Warriors after going undrafted coming out of Duke. He appeared in six preseason games for Golden State and saw limited time.
The 6-foot-2 point guard said he gained great experience from being around his brother and the other guards in the preseason.
“It helped me get into that NBA rhythm,” Curry said. “I’m going to try and carry that over to Santa Cruz.”
Curry explained that he is more than just a 3-point shooter, though he can no doubt knock down the triple, and that he understands he needs to be a leader on this youthful Warriors team.
“I need to be a leader on the court,” Curry said. “A coach on the floor. As a point guard that’s something you need to for you team to be good.”
Santa Cruz also snagged Dewayne Dedmon and Joe Alexander by way of the affiliate rule.
Dedmon and Alexander both were with Golden State for the preseason.
Dedmon, a 7-foot, 255-pound center, played in five preseason games, and Alexander, a 6-foot-8-inch, 230-pound forward, was unable to play because of a stress fracture in his left leg.
The Warriors were also apart of a multi-team trade that brought former Ohio State University standout William Buford to the beaches of Santa Cruz.
“He’s a guy that has always intrigued me,” Hill said. “He’s always been consistent. When you see that kind of consistency at a high level then he’s doing something right.”
The Warriors parted ways with the rights to Jeremy Tyler, this year’s first round pick (15th overall) Scott Suggs and third round pick in this year’s draft (38th overall) Shane Gibson.
They also sent Jeremy Atkinson’s right to the Texas Legends.
Buford, a Toledo, Ohio native, was drafted 11th overall by the Energy in this year’s draft.
After the leaving Ohio State in 2012, where he averaged 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds ad 2.5 assists per game in his four years, the 6-foot-5 guard spent time overseas with Obradoiro CAB of Spain’s ACB league.
But not all is new for the Warriors.
Cam Jones leads a class of four returners from last year that hope to make some noise, and finish off unfinished business.
“I just want scouts to notice me and play at the best of my abilities,” Jones said. “I just want to win, we came short last year. I want to get there again and actually win it this year. Goal is a championship.”
Jones spent time with Golden State’s summer league team and helped them to an NBA summer league championship. He was cut by Golden State after their training camp and decided to come back this season because of the management and coaching staff with the Warriors.
The most improved player a year ago, the 6-foot-4 guard said believes he’s even better after spending time in the NBA summer league and training¬ camp.
“It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my career,” Jones said. “I got to play with one of the most talented guard group in the NBA. I got a lot of good experience, and I know now what I need to do to make it at that level.”
Taylor Griffin, Mo Baker and Dan Nwaelele all return from last season.
Yet, even though the Warriors have made changes the goal still stays the same: help these players make it into the NBA.
“I’m going to challenge all of these players,” Hill said. “I’m going to try and tip the scale and get these players where I think they belong.”
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