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Dakota Wizards

Dakota Wizards
Dakota Wizards logo
League NBA Development League
Founded 1995
Folded 2012
History Dakota Wizards
IBA: 1995–2001
CBA: 2001–2006
NBA D-League: 2006–2012 Santa Cruz Warriors
Arena Bismarck Civic Center
Location Bismarck, North Dakota
Team colors Royal Blue, Golden Yellow, White (2011-2012)
Purple, Green, Black, Silver, White (2008-2009 2010-2011)
Purple, Black, Silver, White (2006-2007 through 2007-2008)
Head coach TBA
Ownership Golden State Warriors
Affiliation(s) Golden State Warriors
Championships (4) 2 CBA 1 IBA 1 D-League
Division / Conference titles (8) 4 CBA 2 IBA 2 D-League

The Dakota Wizards were an American basketball team in the NBA Development League, based in Bismarck, North Dakota. They played their home games at the Bismarck Civic Center.

The team relocated to Santa Cruz, California for the 2012-2013 season to become the Santa Cruz Warriors.


Beginnings in IBA

The team was originally formed in 1995 as a member of the International Basketball Association, a basketball circuit based in the northern United States and western Canada. In the IBA's final year of operation, the 2000-01 season, the Wizards took the IBA title.

2001-02: CBA merger and championship

In 2001, the IBA merged with several teams from the CBA. While it was expected that the smaller, regional IBA franchises would not survive against the stronger CBA squads, the Wizards performed well with a regular season record of 26-14, and a single-elimination 116-109 win over the Rockford Lightning in the CBA's championship game.


In the 2002-03 season, they were the favorites to win the title, but they lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champion, the Yakama Sun Kings.

2003-04: Best season yet, another CBA title

In their best-yet third season, the Wizards finished with a 34-14 regular season record, which placed them as the top team in the league. The Wizards beat the Rockford Lightning 3-1 in the best-of-five semi-finals of the playoffs, and in the winner-take-all championship game, they beat the Idaho Stampede 132-129.


After the 2003-2004 season, coach Dave Joerger left the Wizards for a coaching opportunity with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Wizards announced that former assistant coach Casey Owens would become the head coach and Brian Walsh would become the assistant. The Wizards lost their opening two games versus the Skyforce, but then cruised to a 12-game winning streak before losing to Sioux Falls on New Year's Eve, 2004. The Wizards also lost two potential all-stars, Billy Keys and Dickey Simpkins, who left the team in mid-season to play overseas.

In the end, the Wizards clinched home court advantage throughout the 2005 playoffs with a league-best 32-16 record. Dakota split their first four playoff games with their first-round opponents, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, until Sioux Falls won game five with a 102-97 victory.

2005-06: Darkest Before Dawn

After the 2004-05 season, head coach Casey Owens was replaced by former Baylor University head coach Dave Bliss. The Wizards ownership never made it clear why Owens was not offered a new contract after coaching the team to the best record in the CBA in 2004-05. Hiring Bliss caused some controversy among basketball fans, as Bliss was previously involved in a basketball scandal involving the death of one of his Baylor University players, Patrick Dennehy. Dave Bliss then resigned after the 2005-2006 season, in which the Wizards finished 19-29 and missed the playoffs.

2006-07: On to the D-League, championship

The Wizards left the CBL in March 2006,[1] and on April 1, the team announced a three-year lease agreement with their arena. Five days later, on April 6, they announced they were switching to the NBA Development League.

On May 25, 2006, the Wizards announced that Dave Joerger would be returning as the team's Head Coach for the 2006-2007 NBA Development League season. He was signed to a two-year deal. A few weeks later it was announced that the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards would be the team's NBA affiliates. The number of affiliates varied from team to team. Some had three affiliates, some had two, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders had one. As former CBA teams, the Wizards, the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Idaho Stampede had more experience in signing players, so they were given two affiliates each. The less experienced teams were given three.

2007 D-League Championship trophy awarded to the Dakota Wizards

On April 29, 2007, the Wizards won the D-League championship, defeating the Colorado 14ers 129-121 in overtime.

The Darker Era

On June 22, 2007, the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA hired Wizards coach Dave Joerger as an assistant coach along with Johnny Davis and Gordon Chiesa. As a result of the Grizzlies hiring Joerger, the Wizards became affiliated with the Grizzlies, while the Bulls were bumped to a more regional team, the expansion Iowa Energy.

Since the departure of Dave Joerger, the Wizards were coached by Duane Ticknor during the next two season, in which they made the play-offs both times, but never made it to the finals. Rory White was given the coaching position for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons, making the play-offs during his first year, but barely missing out during the second year. It was the first time the Wizards failed to make a postseason appearance since 2005-2006, and just the second time since 1998-1999.

2011-12: Warriors ownership and return to the playoffs

On June 28, 2011, the Wizards were sold to the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association, making them the fourth D-League team to be fully owned and operated by an NBA team. The Wizards remained in Bismarck during the 2011-2012 season, but were already looking to relocate to California the following season. To reflect the new ownership, the Wizards debuted with a new color scheme, the Warriors' blue and gold, used as an alternative to the purple and green, which dates back to their IBA days. The old color scheme was still used with the team's road uniforms, while the blue and gold was used with the home uniforms and the logo. The Wizards made the Playoffs for the 2011-2012 season, led by the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year and D-League All Star Edwin Ubiles. Even with Ubiles' leadership, they couldn't get past the Bakersfield Jam who swept them 2-0.


On April 4, 2012, the Golden State Warriors announced their intent to relocate the Wizards to Santa Cruz, California in time for the 2012-13 season. The proposal was first discussed at a meeting of the Santa Cruz City Council on April 10, 2012. A decision was approved by the Santa Cruz City Council on May 22 and the team will finally be relocated to Santa Cruz to become the Santa Cruz Warriors for the 2012-13 season.[2]

Season By Season

Season League Division Finish Wins Losses Pct. Postseason Results
Dakota Wizards
1995–96 IBA 5th 7 17 .292
1996–97 IBA 2nd 17 13 .567 Won Semifinals (Magic City) 2-1
Lost IBA Finals (Black Hills) 2-1
1997–98 IBA West 3rd 14 20 .412
1998–99 IBA West 5th 12 22 .353
1999–2000 IBA West 1st 30 6 .833 Won Division Semifinals (Winnipeg) 2-0
Lost Division Finals (Magic City) 3-1
2000–01 IBA West 1st 30 10 .750 Won Division Semifinals (Magic City) 2-0
Won Division Finals (Saskatchewan) 2-0
Won IBA Finals (Des Moines) 3-2
2001–02 CBA National 1st 26 14 .650 Won Semifinals (Fargo-Moorhead) 3-0
Won CBA Finals (Rockford) 116-109
2002–03 CBA National 1st 31 17 .646 Lost Semifinals (Yakima) 3-1
2003–04 CBA 1st 34 14 .708 Won Semifinals (Rockford) 3-1
Won CBA Finals (Idaho) 132-129
2004–05 CBA West 1st 32 16 .667 Lost Semifinals (Sioux Falls) 3-2
2005–06 CBA West 4th 19 29 .396
2006–07 D-League Eastern 1st 33 17 .660 Won Division Finals (Sioux Falls) 115-113
Won D-League Finals (Colorado) 129-121 (OT)
2007–08 D-League Central 1st 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 (Sioux Falls) 101-89
2008–09 D-League Central 2nd 27 23 .540 Won Round 1 (Iowa) 114-109
Lost Semifinals (Utah) 103-93
2009–10 D-League Eastern 3rd 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 (Austin) 2-1
2010-11 D-League Eastern 4th 19 31 .380
2011-12 D-League Eastern 2nd 29 21 .580 Lost Round 1 (Bakersfield) 2-0
Regular season total 418 312 .573 1995-2012
IBA regular season 110 88 .556 1995-2001
CBA regular season 142 90 .612 2001-2006
D-League regular season 166 134 .553 2006-2012
Playoffs total 28 19 .596 1995-2011

Players assigned by NBA teams

  1. REDIRECT Template:Country data Iran Hamed Haddadi - assigned by the Memphis Grizzlies on November 25, 2008 and February 17, 2009

Players recalled by NBA teams

Players called up by NBA teams


Retired number

  • Maurice Baker #23
  • Kevin Rice #32
  • Kevin Beard #35
  • Willie Murdaugh #41


External links

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