Toso/Leavey - Memories of Visiting Teams/Players

While we wait for the season to start, I thought it would be fun to post your memories of most impressive players or teams Santa Clara has hosted over the years, at home…and I guess San Jose SAP center too. Bonus points if your were in attendance. Describe a play if you want, maybe give some context too.

I remember returning from a semester abroad and taking a solo trip to the Cable Car in '92. I needed a hoops fix, and the world of hoops tv wasn’t like it is today, so you had to go live…would be lucky to catch Santa Clara on tv at that time (Raycom, KICU action 36, etc)

Anyways, Alabama Crimson Tide, staring James “Hollywood” Robinson, and two other future pros on roster in Jason Caffey and Roy Rogers were making a visit. Had to go. Definitely knew who James Robinson was at the time, but wasn’t fully aware of how LOADED this Alabama team was the year prior as well…Latrell Sprewell and Robert Horry!

Robinson was silky smooth and as advertised. We played tough DD Bronco basketball and gave them a good game, 65-58 final, Crimson Tide.

Crazy thing is, there weren’t many people in the stands. School was out, holidays in play. Social media would have helped.

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Two funs ones (both overtime losses unfortunately)…

Kevin Foster and Klay Thompson going back and forth down the stretch in an overtime loss to Washington State in 2010. That Washington State team was not spectacular but the game is fun to reflect on knowing what Klay would become. Box Score:

The other game was the overtime loss to Mississippi State at Leavey in December, 2003. Mississippi State would go on to be a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament (26-4 overall, 14-2 in the SEC). If I recall, MSU hit a 3 pointer on the last possession to send the game to overtime. Lawrence Roberts led a very old and physical Mississippi State team.

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Great topic! There are so many games that are memorable for me. I was a junior in 1988 and recall WCC (aka WCAC in 1988) final vs LMU @ Toso. We traded baskets and hung in there until the last 3-4 minutes if I recall. Of course, Gathers and Kimble had a big game, but Jeff Fryer(Fryar) was the guy that really stood out, just knocking down 3’s. Conversely, Dan Weiss, Jens Gordon, and Chris Lane played very well for SCU…just too much Lions firepower.

As for a memorable win? I remember attending a game in 1996, Marlon Garnett’s senior year, and a young freshman, Brian Jones against Marquette.
I recall SCU down big at the half and rather certain Broncos trailed by as many as 20 at one point, only to come storming back to win against a very good Marquette squad that year.


I was there. Brian had 32 points and I believe would have been an NBA player if that damn Warrior did not senselessly run him down in a summer game and destroy his knee. He was never the same. But that win was amazing… thanks for the memory.

  • Games vs. LMU, Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble at Toso, 1989 and '90. Packed house, great energy.
    LMU w/ the 40min track meet a site to behold; grateful to have seen it in person. To the best of my knowledge, no one (at least at the D1 level) has been able to duplicate that…don’t think anyone has even tried.

  • 1993: Nash vs. Jason Kidd and #6 Cal at the San Jose Arena (SAP Arena). Had to look up the media guide to confirm…but in a schedule oddity we then played Cal a 2nd time in non-con at the Oakland Arena and beat them (unfortunately didn’t attend that one). The home and home at bigger arenas was promotional hype…Nash and the Broncos coming off the NCAA tourney appearance and win over UofA plus the hype of CA high school legend Kidd in his sophomore and final college season.

    1. Nash and Garnett beat Bobby Cremins’ Georgia Tech squad led by frosh Stephon Marbury plus Matt Harpring and Drew Barry.
  • 1996 @ San Jose Arena. Opening game of the season vs. #2 Kansas. 1st game w/o Nash and w/ Brian Jones. Kansas had a ton of future NBAers…Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz, Jacque Vaughn, Scott Pollard. Don’t recall any details other than we held our own. And Brian Jones looked like the real deal as a true frosh stepping in to the starting lineup for Nash. A lose but relatively close one.

  • December, 2022 vs. Romar and Univ Washington at Toso. 5-8 frosh Nate Robinson also played football, had just wrapped up football and joined the hoops squad a week or so prior. Nate comes off the bench early in the game, and promptly throws down an incredible dunk in transition. Had no idea who he was at the moment, but came to know the back story.

  • And a regret…2004, had just left the Bay Area and therefore didn’t attend the upset win over #4 and eventual National Champ, North Carolina at the Oakland Arena. Definitely would have been there if I hadn’t moved.


2011 vs Gonzaga - gonz wasn’t quite ranked, they had been in the 20s a couple weeks prior if I remember correctly. They still had 4 future NBAers on the team, led by Sacre.

Back when the ruff riders could take up the sideline and baseline seats, it was beyond packed in - 2 people deep in each row.

Anyways, it was Kevin fosters day… 36 points with the highlight coming with a minute left. We were up ~10 and the shot clock was running down, he drained a buzzer beater 3 from deep to send the place into a frenzy.

Storm the court, some couches lost their lives, and our last win over them since.