Santa Cruz Warriors announced as Franchise of the Year

Their work on and off the court has enriched the NBA and the Bay Area.

It is the day before the draft, and between optimists and pessimists

There’s a lot of chatter about win now vs developments

But for those that are skeptical, they should have no fear

For the Santa Cruz Warriors are the G-League Franchise of the Year!

The Golden State Warriors are on the verge of selecting two young lottery picks to join their prestigious franchise, and the noise around this team’s future is at a fever pitch. Thankfully the Warriors are a sharp organization from top to bottom, as evidenced by their “Sea Dubs” G League affiliate winning the league’s most prestigious award.

“The entire Santa Cruz Warriors team and I are honored to receive this recognition by the league,” said Santa Cruz Warriors President Chris Murphy. “This year challenged us more than ever but as an entire group, we fought through adversity, and it showed in the community and on the court. This recognition is not only for us internally, but the entire Santa Cruz community.”

Doing work in the community

This is the second time the SC Warriors have won this award after taking in 2017-2018. Here’s what they’ve been up to:

  • Their community activism has been of great service in the Bay Area, helping over 3,400 students via a partnership with Kaiser Permanente in programs like the Read to Achieve, Math Warriors, and Get Fit programs.

  • They also hosted a Recovery Resource Center for fire victims at Kaiser Permanente Arena, in addition to a polling center for the general election and a vaccination center for Covid-19.

  • They joined with GSW fan favorite Shaun Livingston and WNBA hooper Natasha Cloud to celebrate Black History Month with over 3,200 local students.

  • They created he Swishes for Dishes Initiative, donating 50,280 meals to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County. For their work they were recognized with one of the league’s Social Responsibility Awards.

Developing hoopers on the court

The Santa Cruz Warriors have also been integral to the development of several players who have a chance to really make an impact on the game of basketball.

Juan Toscano-Anderson, Jordan Poole, and Nico Mannion all had formative playing time with the Sea Dubs that is paying dividends. Oakland native JTA signed a multi-year NBA contract with Golden State after working his way up from the G League. Poole’s breakout sophomore year came after he got some reps in Santa Cruz, averaging 22.4 PPG in 11 games there this season.

Mannion is currently balling out in the Olympics for Italy after spending time as a rookie with the SC Warriors.

And Santa Cruz always produced a current NBA champion with Axel Toupane who averaged 17.9 PPG for them. He earned a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and now has a championship ring to show for his hard work.

The sky is the limit for the Sea Dubs going forward. If they can help develop whoever the Warriors draft while continuing to serve the community off the court, I’d expect another franchise of the year award to come real soon!

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