Team Sends Forward Cleanthony Early and Returning Rights of Elgin Cook to Rio Grande Valley Vipers
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Santa Cruz Warriors have completed a trade with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to acquire forward Winston Shepard and the returning rights to forward/center Markus Kennedy, the team announced today. Pending successful physicals, Shepard is expected to be active for the Warriors on Friday, December 22 as the team travels to play the Reno Bighorns (tip-off 7:00 p.m.). Shepard will wear #1 for Santa Cruz.
“We’re excited to welcome Winston Shepard to our team, and believe his defensive intensity, versatility and winning pedigree is a perfect fit for our current roster,” said Santa Cruz Warriors General Manager Kent Lacob. “We’re also very happy to acquire the returning rights to Markus Kennedy, who has NBA G League experience and has shown tremendous ability playing in Italy this season.”
To complete the trade, pending physicals, the Warriors sent forward Cleanthony Early and the returning rights to forward Elgin Cook to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
“On behalf of the entire Santa Cruz Warriors organization, we want to thank Cleanthony Early for his two seasons with us,” said Lacob. “Throughout his time in Santa Cruz, Cleanthony was a terrific player, competitor and presence in the Santa Cruz community. We wish him the best in this next chapter of his career with the Vipers.”
“We also want to recognize Elgin Cook for his time with the Warriors during the 2016-17 season, as he was a consummate professional both on and off the court and we will be rooting for his success moving forward,” said Lacob.
Shepard (6’8, 209) spent the 2016-17 season with Alba Fehérvár in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, averaging 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds. 3.1 assists and 27.2 minutes in 43 games as part of the 2017 Hungarian Cup champions and earning the 2017 Finals Most Valuable Player award. The Houston, Texas native played four seasons at San Diego State University from 2012-16, logging 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 139 games for the Aztecs.
Kennedy (6’9, 245) currently plays for Flexx Pistoia in Italy’s Serie A league, averaging 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 23.6 minutes over eight games this season. Kennedy played for Rio Grande Valley in 2016-17, recording 18 points and 11 rebounds in 56 minutes of action over 11 games. At the collegiate level, he averaged 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over three seasons at Southern Methodist University after beginning his amateur career at Villanova University.
The Santa Cruz Warriors roster currently stands at 12 players. Below and attached is an updated roster sheet:
|25||Chris Boucher||F||6-10||200||1/11/1993||Oregon||Two-Way Contract|
|12||Quinn Cook||G||6-2||179||3/23/1993||Duke||Two-Way Contract|
|22||Michael Gbinije||G||6-7||200||6/5/1992||Syracuse||Affiliate Rule|
|0||Alex Hamilton||G||6-4||195||10/5/1993||Louisiana Tech||Returning Player|
|9||Avry Holmes||G||6-2||195||2/20/1994||Clemson||2017 NBA G League Draft|
|6||Terrence Jones||F||6-9||252||1/9/1992||Kentucky||In-Season Waiver Wire|
|3||Damion Lee||G||6-6||210||10/21/1992||Louisville||Returning Player|
|31||Georges Niang||F||6-6||231||6/17/1993||Iowa State||Affiliate Rule|
|1||Winston Shepard||F||6-8||209||9/22/1993||San Diego State||Trade|
|43||James Southerland||F||6-8||221||4/28/1990||Syracuse||Returning Player|
|32||Trevor Thompson||C||7-0||250||6/12/1994||Ohio State||Affiliate Rule|
|21||Najeal Young||F||6-6||215||2/27/1994||Texas-Wesleyan||2017 NBA G League Draft|