Pat Spencer, the lacrosse star who signed with the Golden State Warriors

Pat Spencer is 27 years old and plays guard, has just signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors taking the place of Lester Quinones, who was promoted to the first team permanently. Last night Spencer made his official NBA debut, in garbage-time against Denver, playing 1’45”. Spencer’s story is very unique, rare even for the NBA.

Since his high school years at the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, an exclusively boys’ school, Spencer practiced both basketball and lacrosse. For those less familiar, lacrosse is a very popular sport in Canada but also in the U.S., similar to field field hockey. After finishing high school, Spencer then enrolled at Loyola University where he became a a lacrosse star: played four years in college, setting what is still the All-Time record for assists in Division I with 261 and for points in the Patriot League (a private conference) with 380.

Despite being a star in lacrosse, Pat Spencer never stopped having an eye for basketball. Finishing his four years at Loyola, he was selected with the first overall call in the Premier Lacrosse League Draft by the Utah Archers. Here was the choice that changed his life: Spencer never joined the team for practices and games, deciding to do another year of college at Northwestern University, though playing basketball. In his first and only season in NCAA Basketball Division I, the player maintained 10.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists on average, but attending a basketballically modest college (only 2 NCAA Tournament appearances in its history) he has never ascended to particularly important stages.

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With the 2020-21 collegiate season halted for Covid-19, Spencer then decided to sign his first pro contract in Europe. He has totaled 9 games with the Hamburg Towers, in Germany’s top league, scoring 9.2 points on average. Then the return to the USA for the following season, in the G-League with the Capital City Go-Go’s: only 7.5 points per game. Another turning point in his career came the following year, when he joined the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s developmental league affiliate. Here he found more space, improving his averages in two years to the 14.5 points and 6.2 rebounds average this season. He had also participated in the preseason with Golden State in 2022, playing a few minutes and jolting Steph Curry with a dunk against Portland. Now obvious improvements in the G-League have earned him a call-up from Mike Dunleavy Jr and Steve Kerr.

Francesco Manzi
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