Former Notre Dame de Namur University basketball standout Arron Mollet had his mind made up: If he was going to continue playing the game he loves, it would probably take him overseas.
"Especially coming from a smaller school, it’s hard to get a look,” Mollet said. Even after a career where he knocked down 72 3-pointers, leading the team in that category over a three-year span, it wasn’t like Mollet’s phone was blowing up with opportunities.
But as Mollet found out playing basketball as an Argonaut, sometimes all you need is one shot.
And when you get it, just follow through and knock it down.
As it turns out, Mollet won’t need to pack a suitcase just yet.
Mollet will continue his basketball career locally after the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Developmental League drafted him with the 125th overall pick. Mollet, a 6-3 guard who graduated from NDNU last May was selected as the 13th pick in the eighth round.
The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league system and features 16 teams that have direct affiliation with NBA franchises.
"It’s a huge opportunity,” Mollet said. "The D league in general is a great opportunity for a lot of guys that can’t get drafted straight into the NBA. It gives them a chance to be seen and gives them the potential to move up. As for me, the tryout was a great opportunity. It’s a great thing that they do that for people who have been overlooked, get a chance to play and show what they got. Whether or not I’m here for a year, or five years, whatever it is, it’s going to open up a lot of other doors for me.”
For Mollet, the Warriors offer a chance to continue his career that began at Gavilan College before spending two years at NDNU. During his time as an Argonaut, Mollet averaged 11.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while starting 41 contests at shooting guard.
"When I found out that I going to be playing so close to home, where I have all my support, it was an amazing feeling. The situation couldn’t have worked out any better really,” he said.
The Santa Cruz Warriors are in a new home this season after making the move from Bismarck, N.D. Mollet, originally from Gilroy, grew up only an hour from Santa Cruz and seized the opportunity to play with the D League following an open tryout.
"I wasn’t really expecting anything,” Mollet said of his tryout participation. "I just wanted to experience it. I knew I was a good player but I wasn’t going to go there and think I was going to be drafted and make the team. Even the coaches during the trials said there was a slim chance that anyone would be picked up, but that it was still a good opportunity. I didn’t have huge expectations going in. I thought I played alright. I could’ve played better in the tryout. But I guess they liked what they saw.”
An affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, the former Dakota Wizards participated in their first D-League draft as the Santa Cruz Warriors on Nov. 2. But Mollet and the Warriors begin their inaugural season Nov. 17 with preseason action and their home opener scheduled for Dec. 23.
"All these guys are from huge-name schools,” Mollet said. "They’re from all over the country, and even from other countries. They’re some of the top players in the world. So, the main thing is just getting comfortable out here. Playing with them, playing at this level. There’s a lot of new guys, so we’re trying to become a team right now in training camp. The coaching staff is doing a great job of bringing us together on and off the court.
"I think the main thing that I take away from it is no matter where you are, or how much you’ve been recognized throughout your life, no matter what you’re doing, there’s always opportunities. And if you put in the work, you’ll get something out of it. Most often, the smaller Division II, Division III schools, there’s not a lot of talk of people coming out of those schools and doing big things in athletics afterwards. But, I hope this story really inspires other people because it is possible. If you do the work, you will be recognized eventually and you will have your opportunity.”