RIMAC plays host to Warriors camp

    Veterans of the Golden State Warriors might have grown accustomed to relaxing in hammocks, eating pineapples and sipping Mai Tais after hard preseason practices at the team’s previous training facility in Hawaii. But all that changed this season.

    The Warriors conducted their annual preseason training camp between Oct. 5 and Oct. 9 at RIMAC Arena instead of at their typical Hawaiian destination. The team is joined by a new coach and several new players for the upcoming season, so it seemed only fitting to change the scenery as well.

    “This is a great facility,” head coach Mike Montgomery said. “There are three practice courts, and easy in-and-out access is a bonus.”

    The Warriors’ roster is loaded with a wide range of new talent. Small forward Mike Dunleavy was a Duke superstar and is predicted to have a breakout season. Fourth-year shooting guard Jason Richardson is an NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion and is noted as having improved his all-around performance with each season.

    Leading the new players will be former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher. Fisher, whose memorable clutch shot in game five of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals thrust Los Angeles past the San Antonio Spurs, hopes to help end the Warriors’ 10-year playoff drought.

    “We definitely have a shot at it,” Fisher said. “Right now we are learning the new system and getting down the general basics.”

    New acquisitions will play a huge part in determining the fate of the team’s 2004-05 season. Veteran center Dale Davis was obtained in a trade from the Portland Trailblazers, while rookie Luis Flores was part of an eight-player trade between the Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks. Davis has been in the league for 13 years and has more than 100 games of playoff experience, while Flores was ranked No. 5 in NCAA scoring last season.

    The front court will also benefit from the No. 10 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Andris Biedrins. Biedrins is an 18-year-old Latvian who has been labeled as a future star by scouts from all over the world.

    Along with new players and a new coach, the team is running a different style of training.

    “The camp is more fun, and everything seems to be a lot more positive,” Dunleavy said.

    Coaches and players had advice for student athletes interested in pursuing careers in professional athletics.

    “Students need to realize that having a professional athlete’s body doesn’t make them professional athletes yet,” Montgomery said. “Using what they have is most important, and in order to make up for lack of size, taking full advantage of their individual qualities is key.”

    Assistant Vice President of Operations and future Hall of Fame player Chris Mullin stressed the importance of time management.

    “An athlete must realize that being able to organize time for socializing, studying and practice is part of college athletics,” Mullin said. “Studying is most important of all.”

    The Warriors seem to be on the right track, as they attempt to build a playoff team by establishing their foundation at UCSD.

    “Twenty-three thousand top students and athletes are here trying to learn the steps to having a successful career. It only seems fitting that the Warriors will begin their success here at RIMAC,” Sixth College student Scott Weisberg said while waiting outside RIMAC Arena for autographs.

    Although practices were closed to the public, the Warriors can be seen in Los Angeles on Nov. 28 when they take on the Clippers, then again on Dec. 3 when they take on the Lakers.

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