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Santa Cruz Weekly Write-Up: Avry Holmes Providing a Boost Off the Bench
By Kevin Danna
Santa Cruz Warriors broadcaster Kevin Danna provides an update on what's going on with the Sea Dubs.
1. How's the team doing?
It's been a very successful seven days for the Sea Dubs, as Santa Cruz won road games against the Oklahoma City Blue and Sioux Falls Skyforce before defeating the ‘Force at home on Sunday night. The three-game win streak has the Sea Dubs at 9-5 on the season and one and a half games back of the Pacific Division-leading South Bay Lakers, who won a wild 148-144 overtime game Tuesday night against Northern Arizona (for those of you new to the G League, that score isn’t all that out of the ordinary).
Defense has been the name of the game recently for Santa Cruz, as it held Sioux Falls to under 100 points and 40 percent shooting in both games the teams played last week, winning 104-84 on Friday in South Dakota and 116-95 in Surf City on Sunday (38th consecutive sellout at Kaiser Permanente Arena, mind you). Seeing as Sioux Falls had scored at least 100 points in each of their first nine games of the season and 22-straight against teams not named Santa Cruz dating back to last year, that’s no easy feat.
Offensively, it has been more of the same. Santa Cruz, which leads the G League in field goal percentage (51.7 percent on the season), has shot at least 50 percent in nine of the team’s 13 contests and 49 percent in three of the other four. The Sea Dubs also lead the G League in assists per game (27.6), assist percentage (.619) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.52), so they are definitely getting their Golden State on when it comes to sharing the rock.
2. How are the guys on the Golden State roster doing?
A big factor in Santa Cruz’s recent three-game winning streak was the return of Quinn Cook from Golden State to Santa Cruz. He joined back up with the team last Wednesday in OKC and promptly went off for 32 points and 11 assists before contributing 26 points, six rebounds and six assists in Sunday’s triumph over Sioux Falls. The former Duke guard is top five in the G League in scoring (25.1 ppg, third) and assists (8.4, tied for third) and is on pace to become the first 50-40-90 player in G League history. The major hindering factor on that front is that he might not play enough games to hit the league minimum requirements because he could spend up to another 40 days with Golden State during Santa Cruz’s regular season. Cook has joined the Big League Dubs in Charlotte for at least Wednesday’s game against the Hornets and likely more with Steph Curry out for the time being.
One guy who figures to stick around for a while is Damian Jones, and the Golden State assignee is continuing to dominate G League competition. The high field goal percentage has been there all year (he is 76 percent from the floor over his last six games and his 71.5 shooting percentage on the season leads the G League), but his rebounding numbers are starting to pick up. The Commodore has at least 15 rebounds in back-to-back games to up his average to 8.3 boards per contest, good for 19th in the G League. He also hit the second 3-pointer of his professional career, drilling a top of the arc triple Friday against the ‘Force (same spot he hit his first one). With backup center Trevor Thompson suffering an ankle injury against Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Jones has been the lone true big on the Sea Dubs’ roster and has had to stay on the court a little more than normal. He played a career-high 40 minutes in Sunday’s game.
3. Who else has been impressing lately?
Reserve guard Avry Holmes is in the midst of his best two-game stretch of the season, scoring 14 points Friday in Sioux Falls before going off for a season-high 19 points at home against the Skyforce on Sunday. The 66th overall selection of the 2017 G League Draft has been playing with a lot more confidence recently, looking for his shot more and chucking it up with conviction. “I’m just trying to feel the game out. Whatever I have to do, rebound the ball, pass more, shoot more. I’m just trying to play my game,” Holmes told me at practice Tuesday. “All the guys and coaches have helped me do that- become a better player and give me the confidence to do so.”
Seeing as Quinn Cook is up with Golden State, Holmes’ minutes and importance to Sea Dubs success will increase. Santa Cruz is pretty thin at the moment with Cook’s departure, Trevor Thompson out with an ankle injury, Michael Gbinije out with a calf strain and two-way player Chris Boucher still making his way back from an ACL tear, so look for Holmes to really be a key contributor in the coming games.
4. What's next?
After a quick pit stop back home for the Sioux Falls game on Sunday, the Sea Dubs are back out on the road for two games in Austin on Thursday and Sunday (first time in team history that Santa Cruz will play two-game road set against the same team with two days of rest in between) before heading to Prescott Valley to take on the Northern Arizona Suns on Tuesday. Thursday’s game against the Austin Spurs will be on ESPNU (6:30 p.m. PT tip) and Sunday’s game against the Spurs will be on NBA TV (noon), so you’ll have your first chance to catch the Sea Dubs on national television this year.
Looking a little further down the line, Kaiser Permanente Arena will be the site of USA Basketball’s next two FIBA World Cup Americas Qualifying games on Feb. 23 and Feb. 26 against Cuba and Puerto Rico. The United States’ World Cup Qualifying roster is made up of G League guys, so there’s a chance a Sea Dub will be suiting up for America and head coach Jeff Van Gundy.