Moving away from home for the first time can come with its challenges. But for Warriors rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, getting acclimated with their new home in the Bay Area has gone rather smoothly.
San Francisco is the farthest from home Baldwin and Rollins have lived. Baldwin has lived in Illinois and Wisconsin all his life and played for his father at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Rollins had only ever lived in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, where he played his college ball.
The two Midwesterners, however, both said they were excited to experience living somewhere new.
“I typically adapt to new environments pretty well,” Baldwin said Thursday. “Being in a new city might be the most difficult part, but I mean, basketball is basketball. And the people down here are really nice. It’s been a really easy transition.”
His favorite part so far?
“Honestly, it’s the hills,” Baldwin said. “I have an electric bike, and that’s pretty cool to kind of climb up the hills and go down them pretty fast. So I think the landscape is pretty cool just for bike riders. But I mean, overall, the people have been really nice. I can just kind of go around and be Patrick Baldwin and so that’s pretty awesome so far.”
Meanwhile, Rollins said he’s a big fan of the mild year-round weather (with the exception of this record-setting heat wave.) He also recently found himself in awe of the vast scenery of Baker Beach near the Presidio.
“It was like a view of … the world almost,” he said.
Thursday was an eventful afternoon for the Warriors’ 2022 draft picks, who explored San Francisco both by water and land while visiting various local businesses.
Rollins and Baldwin took a boat from Chase Center and got to see the city from a new vantage point. They drove under the Bay Bridge and saw the Golden Gate Bridge before docking in the Marina. After a quick stop in Japantown, where they learned how to make sushi at Oma San Francisco Station, the rookies went to Project LEVEL in Hayes Valley for a jam session with Richard “Big Rich” Bougere. Then they ended the day with a meet-and-greet with Old Skool Cafe, a faith-based, violence prevention program that provides job training and employment for youths.
It was the kind of immersive experience both Rollins and Baldwin welcomed.
“I’ve been enjoying it a lot so far,” Baldwin said. “I’ve definitely made it a point of emphasis to get out and see what the area has to offer and get to know the city a bit, and just days like this really make me appreciate it a lot more.”
Added Rollins, “It’s been cool being here for an extended amount of time, finally. I was back and forth during the draft process, so getting settled down, getting a spot, just finding my way around town and just growing into the city, it’s been cool for sure.”
Thursday offered a nice chance for Baldwin and Rollins to get away as they’ve spent most of the last two months nursing their injuries and preparing themselves for training camp, which opens Sept. 24.
Baldwin and Rollins missed summer league action due to their respective injuries. Baldwin was working his way back from an ankle injury that sidelined him for most of first and only college season. Meanwhile, Rollins was surprised to learn the Warriors’ training staff found a stress fracture in his right foot during a routine physical.
Baldwin said his ankle has healed up nicely.
“I’ve been pretty much unlimited when I’m out there playing,” he said. “I’ve been up to speed on the court and looking good right now.”
Meanwhile, Rollins said his foot was “feeling great,” though he reiterated he never really experienced pain due to the broken bone that landed him in a walking boot in July. He’s been able to increase his workload in recent weeks, saying, “I’ve been doing really everything on the court.”
Rollins hasn’t been cleared for contact yet, but he believes that could be coming as soon as next week.
“I’m back now,” Rollins said. “I’m finally getting back on the court and trying to do more, so just trying to get back in shape and getting my body right, get back my basketball feels, just touching and all that and so I’ve been doing that pretty good.”
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