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Former Zag Connor Griffin in NBA Finals with Denver Nuggets

Griffin was in a Bulldog uniform for his freshman and sophomore years. Now, he's an Assistant Video Coordinator for the Denver Nuggets.

DENVER — A former Gonzaga Bulldog started his first NBA Finals on Thursday night. While he won't be putting on a jersey for the best-of-seven series, he's played a role in the Nuggets historic season.

"Being in the finals, that's something you only dream of as a kid," said former Gonzaga basketball player Connor Griffin. 

Connor Griffin immediately makes Gonzaga fans think of one thing. His jaw dropping dunks in the Kennel.

"I was a one trick pony when it came to that stuff. That was my go-to for all the all the Zag fans man," said Griffin with a laugh.

Griffin was in a Bulldog uniform for two seasons, spending his freshman and sophomore years as a walk-on in Spokane from 2013-2015.

Unlike most who transfer, he left to play football at the University of Washington as a wide receiver.

But he couldn't stay away from basketball for long. He would play a fifth year at Vanguard University, a small NAIA school. 

After graduating, he wound up getting a graduate assistant position within the West Coast Conference at Pepperdine.

"It was weird because I'm now playing Gonzaga who obviously I played for, and now I'm rooting against them, trying to beat them," said Griffin. "Did that for two years. Third year, they brought me on full time as a video coordinator. And you know, this entire time I've been working on the video stuff, learning how to make these, you know, playbooks, all these different edits for our coaches and got pretty good at it and just kind of found my niche there."

That niche has paved the way to the NBA as Griffin is now the Assistant Video Coordinator for the Denver Nuggets.

In the job, he helps the team scout upcoming opponents by editing together film, but he also gets to show off some of what fans in Spokane used to see. 

"The other portion of it is the player development side where I actually get to go on the court and, you know, whether it's put a player through a workout or just assisting in it, I don't think the coaches nor the players expected me last year to be as athletic as I was," said Griffin. "So when I first got to, you know, play one-on-one against Jamal Murray or you know, play five-on-five against our guys on scout team, they were a little surprised with what I could do."

If you ask Connor what's made the Nuggets so successful, he relates it back to his days in college.

"This is ust as close as any Gonzaga team I've been on or just as close as any UW team I've been on and I think there's no denying the cultures amongst all three of those. It's a big cause as to why we are where we are," said Griffin.

Now, he's four wins away from having a championship ring, but until then, there's still work to do.

"We haven't done a damn thing yet, We haven't won it," said Griffin. "If we make it happen, it's something I never could have even dreamt of."

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