NEW YORK – The Santa Cruz Warriors today were recognized as the first-ever Franchise of the Year and Wisconsin Herd President Steve Brandes was named the Team Executive of the Year for the 2017-18 NBA G League season. NBA G League President Malcolm Turner made the announcement at the league’s sales and marketing meetings in Charlotte.
A selection committee comprised of league executives determined the winner of the Franchise of the Year award. The NBA G League’s 26 teams were evaluated based on the NBA G League’s three core pillars: Compete with Intensity, Lead with Integrity and Inspire Play. The Team Executive of the Year was selected by a vote of the league’s team presidents.
NBA G League Franchise of the Year – Santa Cruz Warriors
Santa Cruz demonstrated leadership both on and off the court in 2017-18. The affiliate of the Golden State Warriors was among the league leaders in ticket sales, corporate partnerships and merchandise sales and extended the franchise’s sellout streak that began in 2015-16 to 59 games. On Jan. 28, Santa Cruz played at Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, to a crowd of 15,528 fans.
The franchise continued its commitment to the surrounding Santa Cruz community with more than 200 events and speaking opportunities featuring Warriors players, coaches and front office executives. Local causes included the United Way’s Stuff the Bus program, the City of Santa Cruz Streets Smarts bike safety campaign and the annual Warriors River Cleanup. Through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Nordic Naturals, the team hosted Get Fit Time-Out Basketball Clinics for more than 1,000 local youth, while the Read to Achieve program engaged 4,100 students at eight Santa Cruz schools.
On the court, two-way guard Quinn Cook started 18 regular-season games for the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. A 2017-18 All-NBA G League First Team selection, Cook was signed by Golden State to a multi-year contract on April 10 and is currently competing in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.
NBA G League Team Executive of The Year: Steve Brandes, President, Wisconsin Herd
Steve Brandes led the Wisconsin Herd, affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, to a successful inaugural season in Oshkosh, Wis. The franchise was among the league leaders in total attendance with 69,240 fans attending games at the new Menominee Nation Arena. Season highlights included a Wisconsin Herd School Day game, participation in 120 community events and 20 theme nights including Native American Heritage Night.
Brandes also expanded the team’s reach in the Oshkosh community by securing area television and radio rights and fostering new business relationships. Through the Wisconsin Herd Partnership Summit at the Bucks’ practice facility (the Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center), he identified new opportunities for both local businesses and the Herd.
Previous winners of the Team Executive of the Year award are Chris Murphy (Santa Cruz Warriors, 2017), Mike Levy (Canton Charge, 2016), Tim Salier (Austin Spurs, 2015), Jeff Potter (Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 2014), Bill Boyce (Texas Legends, 2013), David Higdon (Bakersfield Jam, 2012), Bert Garcia (Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 2011) and Jon Jennings (Maine Red Claws, 2010).