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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Breaking Down D-League Rosters Pt. 12 : Santa Cruz Warriors

November 2nd marked the 2012 D-League draft while each team also released their training camp rosters a few days earlier.  Teams can currently carry 17 players on their training camp rosters.  That number will be whittled down to 10 by November 21st at 5pm eastern time.  There were a bevy of post-draft trades which lead to today's current rosters.  In part twelve of this series I'll be taking a look at this year's Santa Cruz Warriors.
The Dakota Wizards tied the Springfield Armor for the best record in the Eastern Conference last year but were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Bakersfield.  This season they move to California and become the Santa Cruz Warriors and sole affiliate of the Golden State Warriors.  Santa Cruz will debut with 2012 D-League Defensive Player of the Year Stefhon Hannah.  The Missouri grad debuted in the D-League two years ago after a successful tryout with the Iowa Energy where he had a relatively quiet year.  He spent 13 games with AZS Koszalin in Poland during the lockout before he returned and was claimed from the player pool by Dakota.  He exploded on the scene with 18.4 pts, 4.8 ast & 2.1 stl per game on the way to his DPOY award.  He spent this summer with the Bucks before attending training camp with Golden State.

2012 DPOY Stefhon Hannah
Santa Cruz selected former Los Angeles Clipper Travis Leslie with their first round pick this year.  Leslie was drafted 47th overall in 2011 after 3 years at Georgia where he averaged 14.4 pts & 7.2 reb in his final season.  He appeared in just 10 games for L.A. and was assigned twice to Bakersfield during the year.  He attended summer league with the Clips & training camp as well before being waived just prior to the D-League draft.  Santa Cruz returns another former NBA draft pick this season.  Taylor Griffin, brother of Blake, was the 48th pick in 2009.  He saw just 8 games of action as a rookie while also being assigned to the Iowa Energy three times.  He spent the 2010-11 season in Belgium with Liege before being claimed last year by Dakota.  He averaged 6.2 pts & 4.5 reb on the year while serving in mostly a reserve role.

Former Clipper Travis Leslie
Justin L. Johnson is back after 45 games with the Wizards last year.  He averaged 9.2 points off the bench in his rookie season after winning the NAIA Player of the Year award as a senior with Concordia.  Cameron Jones arrives from Fort Wayne in a pre-draft trade which sent Mike Anderson to the Mad Ants.  Jones averaged 20 points per game as a senior at Northern Arizona before becoming the 10th overall pick in the 2011 D-League draft.  He averaged 14 points per game in 48 contests during his rookie campaign.  Two post-draft trades landed the Warriors Dominique Johnson & Harouna Mutombo, a 2012 8th rd pick, plus a 3rd pick in the 2013 draft courtesy of Iowa.  Johnson graduated from Azusa Pacific in 2010 when he averaged 17.2 pts per game.  He spent the last two years in the D-League with Texas after being drafted in the 3rd round in 2010.  Last season he put up 12.9 pts & 4.0 reb per contest.  Mutombo is a 6'5" guard who is the nephew of the great Dikembe Mutombo.  He just graduated from Western Carolina where he averaged 13.9 pts & 5.9 reb as a senior.

Justin Johnson returns to a new home
Golden State allocated three training camp cuts to Santa Cruz this year.  Rick Jackson is a power forward who graduated Syracuse in 2011 with 13.1 pts & 10.5 reb in his senior year and was also named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year.  He spent last season with Roanne in France where he averaged 8.6 pts & 5.6 reb in right around 17 minutes per game.  Carlon Brown is a rookie guard from Colorado.  He averaged 12.8 pts last year and was named to the All-Pac 12 2nd Team.  Small forward Lance Goulbourne arrives from Vanderbilt University where he averaged 8.7 pts & 6.9 reb as a senior.

Rick Jackson arrives from France
The Warriors selected T.J. Robinson in the 3rd round of the draft.  Robinson is rookie power forward from Long Beach State who averaged a double double in his last three years of college and was named 1st Team All-Big West this past year.  6'9" forward Steve Tchiengang was selected in round 5 and will begin his rookie season after playing in a reserve role at Vanderbilt last year.  Guard Darren Moore was the choice in the 6th round.  he averaged 17.0 pts & 5.9 reb in 2010-11 for UC Irvine.  He spent his rookie year split between Radnicki Kragujevac in Serbia & Debrecen in Hungary.  The Warriors 7th round pick gained worldwide attention.  Former Western Kentucky big man Japeth Aguilar looks to be the first Filipino player to be affiliated with the NBA if he can crack the regular season roster.  Aguilar has spent the whole of his career playing in the Philippines.  8th round choice Aaron Mollett is a guard who averaged 10.7 pts per game for division two Notre Dame Namur last year.

Filipino sensation Japeth Aguilar
Daniel Nwaelele is the lone tryout player on the team's roster.  He graduated from the Air Force Academy as a Mountain West Conference 1st team selection.  He flirted with the Spurs that summer but was unable to get the needed permission to forego his commitment to sign with San Antonio.  He returns now to hopefully pick up his basketball career where it left off and would certainly be one of the feel good stories of the year if he can crack the opening day roster.

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