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ESPNU Players to Watch: Kevon Looney and Aaron Craft, Santa Cruz Warriors

By Brian Kotloff | January 22, 2016

The Santa Cruz Warriors — the NBA Development League‘s defending champs — are getting their turn in the spotlight during a one-month stretch in which they host three games on ESPNU.

Friday, January 22 vs. Rio Grande Valley
Tuesday, February 9 vs. Reno
Friday, February 26 vs. Reno

Full Schedule: 12 NBA D-League Regular-Season Games on ESPNU

Which prospects should fans tuning in have their eyes on?

Here are two familiar names:

Kevon Looney, Forward

As if the Warriors don’t have enough long-armed, versatile players in their system, they drafted another one with the final pick in the first round of June’s NBA Draft.

Kevon Looney joined Golden State with significant hype as a potential high-upside prospect who was Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball during his senior year of high school. The hype died down during a quiet freshman season at UCLA, but that made the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward available for the Warriors to roll the dice on.

With the rotation set in Golden State, Looney may ended up with the Warriors’ affiliate in Santa Cruz anyway. But he now finds himself on the minor-league Dubs under different circumstances, working his way back from a torn labrum suffered during Summer League.

Over three games since his Jan. 4 assignment, Looney has averaged 7.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 17.7 minutes.

Aaron Craft, Guard

You may remember Aaron Craft as the feisty leader of the Ohio State Buckeyes for four years. But even while he won games and awards, the question of whether Craft’s skill set would translate to the pro level always lingered.

He passed his first test with flying colors in the NBA D-League last season, looking like the same player against minor-league competition that he was in college. He won another Defensive Player of the Year award and helped lead Santa Cruz to the NBA D-League title.

Craft has re-joined the Warriors after a brief stint in Hungary to put himself back on the NBA map. His on-ball defense is elite and he has proven to be capable of initiating a pro offense, but a consistent jump shot remains the missing piece in his game.

At January’s NBA D-League Showcase, NBADLeague.com asked Craft to submit his “NBA Resume”:

Click here to view more “NBA Resumes”

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