The Golden State Warriors’ developmental team is set for its first season under new coach Nick Kerr, beginning with a pair of games this weekend at Kaiser Permanente Arena in downtown Santa Cruz. First up for the Sea Dubs: the Stockton Kings on Friday night.
From Kevon Looney to Seth Curry, the Santa Cruz Warriors have had many great players suit up on the basketball court inside Kaiser Permanente Arena since moving to California in 2012.
Locals have sold out the Front Street arena almost any game night while watching players show they belong in the National Basketball Association.
After finishing 18-14 and just missing the playoffs in 2022-23, the G League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors is back with a new coach and many new and exciting players who have seen their share of the NBA hardwood for the 2023-24 season, beginning with games at home Friday against the Stockton Kings and Saturday against the Salt Lake City Stars. Both games start at 7 p.m.
The new head coach for the Santa Cruz Warriors is Nick Kerr, the son of nine-time NBA champion and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Nick Kerr played basketball at the University of San Diego (2012-15) and at UC Berkeley (2015-16).
Kerr, who turned 31 on Thursday, was an assistant coach in Santa Cruz the past two seasons. For four years before that, he had been a video coordinator for the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors.
Now, he will lead a squad featuring five players with past NBA experience.
Marcus Burk, point guard, No. 33
The 6-foot-3 point guard has played professionally since 2021, with stops in Poland and with the Grand Rapids Gold of the G League. He played college basketball at Campbell University and at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. During his senior year, he averaged 21.7 points per game and shot above 80% from the free-throw line.
In 46 career G League games, Burk has averaged 10.3 points, 1.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Yuri Collins, point guard, No. 99
Collins was arguably the best passer in college basketball the past two seasons. Playing under coach Travis Ford at Saint Louis University, the 6-foot point guard led the nation in assists with 7.9 per game in 2021-22 and 10.1 in 2022-23. He set a school record with 20 assists on Nov. 30, 2022, in a victory over Tennessee State.
An efficient shooter, Collins made 44.2% of his field goals last season while averaging 11.2 points per game. He wasn’t selected in the 2023 NBA draft and played with the Golden State Warriors in the preseason before being waived and joining Santa Cruz.
Kendric Davis, point guard, No. 21
Davis is known for his scoring abilities and averaged 20.3 points per game in his final three years of college. He was well-traveled during his collegiate career, playing at Texas Christian University for one year, Southern Methodist University for three years and Memphis for his final season in 2022-23. With Memphis, he put up 21.9 points per game and helped lead the Tigers to the NCAA tournament.
His accolades include the 2021-22 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year while at SMU. Past winners of that award include current NBA players Precious Achiuwa, Quentin Grimes and Marcus Sasser.
Malik Ellison, shooting guard, No. 33
Ellison has been a professional since he went undrafted in the 2020 NBA draft after a career at St. John’s University, University of Pittsburgh and University of Hartford, where he averaged 18.7 points per game as a senior. During his professional career, Harrison has played in Finland and with the College Park Skyhawks of the G League.
In 54 G League games, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder has averaged 7.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Usman Garuba, power forward/center, No. 12
A 2021 Olympian with Spain, Garuba is on a two-way contract, which means he can play with Golden State as well as Santa Cruz. A first-round pick by the Houston Rockets as a 19-year-old in the 2021 NBA draft, Garuba is one of the most intriguing players ever to don a Santa Cruz Warriors jersey. The 6-foot-8, 229-pound project was the EuroLeague Rising Star in 2021. Previous winners of that award include Ricky Rubio and NBA All-Star Luka Doncic.
In 99 career games with the Rockets between 2021 and 2023, Garuba averaged just 12.2 minutes per game and struggled to break into the rotation. After the 2022-23 season he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks and then to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In August, he was waived by the Thunder and he signed with Golden State, where he spent preseason.
Still just 21 years old, Santa Cruz could be the place where Garuba can get going.
Javonte Green, shooting guard/small forward, No. 55
Since leaving Radford University as its second all-time leading scorer in 2015, Green has played around the world in Italy, Spain and Germany. In 2019, he got his chance in the NBA, making his debut with the Boston Celtics. Between 2019 and 23, Green played in 186 NBA games with 50 starts, including 45 with the 2021-22 Chicago Bulls, where he even started in a playoff game.
Standing at 6-foot-5, Green is a tough 205 pounds. He was offered scholarships to play football out of high school and he uses his physicality to grab rebounds against taller opponents. A tireless worker, Green is an elite defender as well, nabbing the Big South Defensive Player of the Year award while at Radford in 2015.
Lester Quinones, shooting guard, No. 25
Like Garuba, Quinones is on a two-way contract with Golden State. He dazzled last season in Santa Cruz and put up 21.8 points in 31 games, earning him four games with the Golden State Warriors during the 2022-23 season. He played on with Golden State in the preseason this year and had 18 points in a victory over Sacramento on Oct. 15.
Quinones has already played in one regular-season game with Golden State this season where he scored 5 points in 5 minutes against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.
He played collegiately at Memphis for three seasons and helped the Tigers to the 2020-21 NIT championship, leading the team with 16 rebounds that night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Jerome Robinson, shooting guard, No. 18
Robinson was a lottery pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2018 NBA draft but never saw more than 12 minutes per game in his 75 games with the Clippers. He was traded to the Washington Wizards for the final stretch of the 2019-20 season and excelled, averaging 9.4 points in 24 minutes.
In his NBA career, he has played in 114 games, averaging 4.5 points. The Boston College alum has made more than $10 million in his career.
Robinson has also spent time in the G League with the Agua Caliente Clippers and the Santa Cruz Warriors, averaging 17.9 points over 70 games.
This season could be his last chance to get back to the NBA.
Donovan Williams, shooting guard, No. 8
Williams is a 22-year-old high flyer who played his college basketball at both the University of Texas and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He was the second-leading scorer at UNLV as a junior in 2021-22 and declared for the NBA draft following that season. He went undrafted but caught on with the College Park Skyhawks and the Long Island Nets of the G League, where he averaged 13.5 points and 4.2 rebounds a game.
His play earned him a call-up to the Atlanta Hawks where he appeared in two games, scoring 4 total points against the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics. Williams turned 22 in September.
Javan Johnson, small forward, No. 31
Javan Johnson played his college basketball at Troy University, Iowa State University and DePaul University. As a senior at DePaul in 2022-23, Johnson had a career-high 14.2 points per game.
Jayce Johnson, center, No. 36
Jayce Johnson played for Santa Cruz last season and was a rebounding machine, averaging 13.5 boards per contest. He could also be depended on to score and averaged 9.4 points per game.
The 7-footer spent three years with the University of Utah before finishing his career at Marquette University in 2019-20. He made more than 57% of his shots and had more rebounds than points. He also averaged 1.1 blocks per game in his final season at Utah.
Jackson Rowe, small forward, No. 43
After finishing up a four-year career at Cal State Fullerton, where he averaged 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds as a senior, Rowe played professionally in France, Sweden, Canada and Sweden.
Jimmy Whitt, shooting guard, No. 26
Whitt averaged more than 10 points per game in college at Southern Methodist University and the University of Arkansas. He played in 15 games in the G League for the Cleveland Charge where he scored 55 total points.
Players who could make an appearance this season
These three players are Golden State Warriors rookies who are being paid full NBA salaries that could see time in Santa Cruz, but aren’t on the initial opening night roster.
Brandin Podziemski, guard
The Golden State Warriors took Podziemski 19th overall in the 2023 draft out of Santa Clara University. He is 20 years old and averaged 19.9 points while using his 6-foot-5 frame to pull down nearly 9 rebounds per game. He was a very smart shooter who made more than half of his 2-point field goals and 43.8% of his 3-point shots. Podziemski has already appeared in four games with Golden State, scoring 10 total points.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, power forward
Jackson-Davis was the Warriors’ second-round pick in the 2023 NBA draft and gave everything and more to the University of Indiana in his four years with the Hoosiers. During his senior season, he averaged 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.9 blocks per game.
The 6-foot-9, 23-year-old has already appeared in six games this season with Golden State, including a 13-point, 9-rebound, 4-block performance against New Orleans on Oct. 30. On top of that, his father is former NBA All-Star Dale Davis, who logged more than 1,000 career games with the Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors and Detroit Pistons.
Gui Santos, small forward
Just 21, Santos was a star with Santa Cruz last season after averaging 12.7 points in just 24.5 minutes per game. He was selected in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft and has earned a three-year contract worth $5.1 million with Golden State. However, only $75,000 is guaranteed, meaning the Warriors could cut him at any time without penalty. Most players in this situation will make it at least one full season, which would pay Santos north of $1 million.
The Santa Cruz Warriors’ regular season begins Friday and runs through March 30. For full schedule, ticket information and more, visit the official site here.
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