SAN FRANCISCO — Trayce Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski had to duck their heads through the underground hallways of the old Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. These buildings weren’t built for NBA-sized players, though both recognized the abandoned structures from the “Call of Duty” video game.
But exploring the insides of one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks was all part of the Warriors rookies’ day getting well acquainted with their new city. A few weeks earlier a few miles south, the pair had already gotten better acquainted with their new teammates.
Through the team group chat, Steph Curry organized a players-only mini camp in Los Angeles at the end of August. Most of the team — except Dario Saric, who is playing for Team Croatia in the FIBA World Cup — attended for the near week-long gathering. As a group, they practiced and had team dinners.
“Just a great thing by our vets to set that up and team bonding off the court which was really helpful for guys like me and Trayce,” Podziemski said on Thursday from the Alcatraz ferry back to Pier 33 in the city. “Went out to a couple dinners, walked around. It was more of a get to know each other on a level where basketball wasn’t involved. Obviously we played basketball as a group, but it was good to finally get to meet people. For all the new guys, it was super helpful.”
Jackson-Davis wasn’t a full participant during the mini camp; team staffers have told him not to pile on his workload heading into the season. The 23-year-old rookie was sidelined for most of Summer League with a hamstring injury. But Jackson-Davis said he was cleared to practice fully last week. He and Podziemski have been working out at Chase Center frequently this summer. He got to play some three-on-three at the mini camp in LA, but better yet get comfortable with his new team.
“Getting to see the full team together, got to watch them play full open gym was cool,” he said. “Continuing to stack days an getting to know the guys was really good. Most of the team, they already know each other. But me and Brandin being the new guys, seeing how everyone plays was really cool.
“Just chopping it up, talking, getting to know them. Them getting to know me. That was the biggest thing I took away from the trip.”
The pair got a taste of the Warriors’ workouts and practices when Curry, Chris Paul and others showed up to the Summer League team’s facility to get work in. But with training camp opening in less than a month, the two rookies are locking into life in San Francisco.
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Getting the rookies into the city has become a Warriors tradition. In 2021, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody toured the house featured on San Francisco-based children’s show “That’s So Raven” and the basketball hoop from “Sister Act.” Before the team’s trip to Japan last year for exhibition games against the Washington Wizards, former Warriors Ryan Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr. toured Japan Town in San Francisco.
Podziemski and Jackson-Davis met Mayor London Breed before embarking on a special guided tour through the cells and creepy corners of Alcatraz before heading to the Ferry Building to a local Jamaican restaurant called Peaches Patties.
A few people touring the site stopped to wish the pair luck this season, one urged Jackson-Davis to “dunk everything” this season. For the most part, though, the two rookies could enjoy the tour without too many people approaching. With a crucial season with the Curry-led core seeking a fifth ring, that anonymity could be gone in a matter of weeks.