Clippers camp at City College

Victoria Sanchez

The champagne-colored Escalade, black Lexus and black Mercedes parked in a row at the City College parking lot were the first sign that something was up. At the usually easy-to-enter gym, a no-nonsense City College basketball player stood at the door denying admission to anyone who wasn’t “media.” Beyond the doors of the guard – stars from the NBA.
The Los Angeles Clippers came to City College this past week to hold their pre-season training camp. Team members said they were impressed with the college – its beauty and the quality of the gym and weight room, where they spend most of their time.
“It’s great being here,” Elton Brand, a forward for the Clippers said. “Top notch. It’s a junior college and has unbelievable facilities.”
For this year’s training camp, the Clippers wanted to train in a city within close proximity to L.A. They chose this campus over San Diego and Palm Springs. The convenient location was not the only perk in choosing City College.
“Santa Barbara has been great and well received by our guys. We like to have two courts available to us because it helps shorten conditioning time and enables us to fit in more during practice time,” head coach Mike Dunleavy said. The focus of practice has been attention to defense.
It was the Clippers first time training at City College and for many of the players it was their first time in Santa Barbara. “I’ve heard great things about Santa Barbara but I haven’t had a chance to do too much away from basketball because we’ve been working out most of the time,” said Lionel Chalmers in his “Letter from Camp” on the Clippers official Web site.
Brand had a little more time than teammate Chalmers to explore the city. In Brand’s “Letter” he said, “I was able to checkout Old Town Santa Barbara and some of the other sights around town…the experience has been great both on and off the court.”
October has been a month of additions for the team. On Oct. 1, the Clippers signed free agent guard Rick Brunson, forwards Terence Morris and Marcus Fleming and center Jerry Holman. They also named Richard Williams strength and conditioning coach. On Oct. 5, guard Trajan Langdon and forward Kaniel Dickens were added to the roster.
The Clippers’ game opener is scheduled for Nov. 3 against the Seattle Sonics at the Staples Center.
It’s not all work and no play for these pros. When not practicing, they dined out, got massages from local massage therapists, and spent downtime in their downtown hotel rooms. “It’s a good, relaxing place to be,” Dunleavy said. “It’s a nice town, has nice restaurants and the guys can relax.”
The Clippers returned to L.A. Monday after their seven-day training camp. Brand said, “It’s a nice area and it’s been great being here.”