Have you made it to a Santa Cruz Warriors game yet? The development team for the Golden State Warriors are the current NBA D-League champions and have advanced to the finals every year since they moved to Santa Cruz in 2012. In fact, 2015 was the first time an NBA team and their development affiliate both won the championship in the same year. Plus their new 2,500-seat arena located near Downtown Santa Cruz is awesome. Snag tickets for as little as $17 and grab pre-game drinks and dinner for the perfect evening.
We caught up recently with the Warriors’ Aaron Craft, the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year, to chat all things Santa Cruz. The 25-year-old point guard and his wife, Amber, hail from Columbus, Ohio and reside in Santa Cruz throughout the season. We asked him what he likes to do when he’s not playing ball: his favorite food spots, where he likes to get outside, and how Santa Cruz winters compare to Ohio’s (spoiler alert: ours win).
How has the transition to Santa Cruz been?
It’s been great. Santa Cruz is such a beautiful place, the weather’s fantastic and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know the people here. We met a lot of folks through the church we attend and everyone has been incredibly welcoming. Plus, I can see the water from my breakfast table. I mean, c’mon!
You’re in town for the duration of league season — from October through April — which just happens to include winter.
It’s fantastic. Ohio can get cold and crazy. The weather out here is unbelievable.
What are some of your favorite things to do while you’re in Santa Cruz?
Amber and I like walking around town and taking in all the sights. We frequently stroll the waterfront path along West Cliff Drive. We also like the walk out to the lighthouse at Seabright Beach. We live near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and enjoy just sitting and watching the volleyball players on Main Beach. A few nights ago we went Downtown which had great people watching.
Who has better people watching: Santa Cruz or Ohio?
Oh, it’s a lot more interesting here.
Let’s talk food. What are some of your go-to spots?
I love the Italian sandwich at Zoccoli’s Deli. For sushi, we usually head to Akira in Midtown. Mission St. BBQ is another spot that’s kept us happy. Also, the produce here is so fresh! I never had a better strawberry. By the time fruits and veggies get packed and shipped to Ohio, there’s just no comparison.
Do you have an outdoor fitness routine that takes advantage of our great scenery and weather?
My wife is an avid runner and she’s out there every day. Not me. I’m a walker. I do all my running between the lines on the court and I’m good with that!