The PLNU men’s basketball team started a five-day road trip with a practice in the NBA’s Golden State Warriors training facility. The experience helped inspire the Sea Lions to a perfect 3-0 record for the trip with wins against Holy Names, Notre Dame de Namur and The Academy of Art. The practice was a surprise look into the upper echelon of professional basketball. Although Coach Carr would not reveal his sources, he did admit to having connections in the Warrior’s organization that ultimately led to the opportunity.
While the team was under the impression that they were going to the Holy Name’s gym, die-hard Golden State fan Trevor Peterson had no idea that they were pulling up to his favorite NBA team’s practice facility. In fact, the junior guard did not even think twice about the large Golden State logo hanging proudly on the wall by the elevators.
“I thought, maybe this hotel is just a big fan of the Warriors,” said Peterson after stepping off the elevator.
After seeing another logo, the San Jose native started to catch on.
“Once I started seeing all these pictures on the wall of these Warrior greats, I was like ‘Oh no, we are in the Warriors facility,’” Peterson said.
A fellow junior guard, Randall Jackson described Trevor’s reaction as “freaking out.”
Jackson, who had a critical 12 points in the Sea lion’s final game of the trip, had no idea what was in store for the team as they rolled onto the oversized parking lot in Oakland, California. Although his NBA loyalties lie with the Los Angeles Lakers, he along with the rest of the team, were ecstatic about this opportunity. The team was treated to a private practice.
“It was late at night so it felt super exclusive; we were the only ones in there,” Jackson said.
The only disruptions were welcome ones. According to Jackson, NBA players, Luke Walton and Leandro Barbosa, and Alvin Gentry, assistant coach for the Warriors, poked their heads in to check out the commotion. Practicing like the pros translated into three important wins. These road victories could not come at a better time for PLNU.
The team overcame serious adversity after a tough loss at home to fourth-place Cal Baptist University on Fox TV this past week. Now the Sea Lions are sitting at fifth in the Pac West (top six advance). Carr said the team needs to remain humble after wins while continuing to improve as the season progresses.
“Our group has decided that they are going to try to get better as the season goes on every day, every practice and that lends itself to being confident,” said Carr. “Obviously winning gives you a little momentum, but sometimes winning can also make you overconfident and that is what we are trying to stay away from. You don’t want confidence to go to arrogance. You want to keep the hunger.”
The warning is especially poignant at this point in the season. The Sea Lions have seven games left in their season, six of which are PacWest games. These are essential in a conference with only a four-game difference between first and sixth place.