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Getting to know... Connecticut Sun rookie Kelsey Griffin

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Kelsey Griffin had one of the more eventful days of the WNBA draft, getting drafted by the Minnesota Lynx with the third pick and being subsequently traded to the Connecticut Sun in short order. Here are her thoughts from the day after both the initial draft and also following the trade, as well as some impressions from her collegiate coach, Connie Yori, prior to the draft on Griffin's abilities to succeed in the WNBA.

Connie Yori:

Kelsey Griffin is here today and it will be interesting to see where she goes and regardless of what happens she's very very excited about the opportunity. Kelsey is I think one of the most versatile players in the country and has been a tremendous leader for us, tremendous work habits, just everything that you would want in coaching. I've had the privilege of coaching her for five years. Best I've ever coached and I think she's going to be able to transfer to the WNBA level as well because of her skill set. She's got the ability to shoot the ball away from the basket, she's got great post moves inside, counter-moves and she's just got toughness that's rare.

 

A 'one-word description' of Griffin -

Incredible passion

 

Kelsey Griffin:

On playing in Minnesota -

I'm very excited to play in Minnesota. You know, growing up in Alaska, Minnesota was kind of a state I related with because that's where my mom was from. We'd go to summer vacations there. I'm really familiar with Minneapolis and I really like that city so I'm very excited about it.


On playing with Monica Wright -

She was my roommate at the Final Four and she's my roommate here so we've gotten to hang out a lot together and gotten to know each other. She's a really nice girl off the court, I'm excited to play with her on the court.

 

On what Griffin will bring to the Lynx -

I think like they said, the Lynx is a very balanced team and they don't have a lot of spots that they need filled, but I think I bring a mindset and a mentality that I work really hard – try to work hard every play, every minute of practice – so I think bringing that I will not only improve myself but hopefully will make others better on the team.

 

On the trade from Minnesota to Connecticut -

I'm just excited about going to Connecticut. I was very excited about Minnesota, but Connecticut has a great fan base so I'm really excited to be out there. Not as much snow and I'm not too sad about that, but since the WNBA is in the summer I wasn't too concerned about the snow.

 

I was a little surprised, there had been talk about it. I've talked to the Connecticut coaches, so I knew that the potential was there, but you never know what's going to happen and what's not going to happen. I was completely ready to embrace Minnesota, I was very excited about that, but since I have talked to the Connecticut coaches and know them a little better I'm excited about that.

 

On the strategy of the Connecticut Sun after the trade -

I think they're trying to build a really strong program. I think they're trying to put some young inexperience around some great veteran experience and really build a team that can win some championships and I'm excited and honored that I get to be a part of that.

 

I'm very excited about it. I'm excited to play with Tina Charles. She's such a great player and I think I can learn a lot from her, but also to get to play with Kara Lawson and Aja Jones – some veteran players – I'm excited about that. It's an exciting time.

 

On her fellow draftees and new teammates -

I bumped into Tina [Charles], we did photos. We actually just got done doing photos together and then I bumped into Danielle [McCray] before she was off to an interview, so I got to give her a quick hug. I'm very excited about going out there with those two players.

 

On playing the 3 or the 4 in the WNBA -

I see myself playing in both spots. I've been trying to mentally prepare myself and physically prepare myself to expand to the 3 and so that's something I've worked on but I think I can also be successful at the 4. I think it really depends on the matchups and the teams that we're playing and I'm just trying to make myself as versatile as possible.

 

I see myself wherever [Connecticut] want[s] me. I'll try to do whatever coach asks. I know that there is a very good possibility that I'll be playing a lot of 3, small forward. At the same time I think I still can score on the low block as a 4 and so I think that it will probably depend on what team we're playing and who's on the court with me at that time.

 

I've been working on my 3-point shot, even my 17-foot jumper, since my sophomore year, but at Nebraska I didn't have to be an outside shooter. We needed someone in the paint and I was more than happy to do that. Playing with Cory [Montgomery] and Yvonne [Turner] I really didn't need to score on the outside so if a coach asks that of me I'm going to try my best. The potential is there. I know I have a ways to go yet, but the foundation has been laid there.

 

On worries of making the roster -

It's definitely a possibility and that's a fear, but you don't want to be scared. You don't want to play scared or be scared for that, so I'm just going to go out there and play my best and I have full confidence that whatever the team needs is that's who will stay. I'm just excited about the opportunity.

 

On being from Alaska -

I'm very proud of being from Alaska, I really like it. It's a great conversation starter whenever I'm meeting new people. There's always tons of questions asked and I embrace it, I love it and I think it will be something that hopefully people relate with me. I would have no problem with people maybe not knowing my name but saying, 'hey, that player is from Alaska', I'm completely fine with that.

 

On skiing -

I don't ski, I snowboard. I skied when I was younger, I wasn't very good at it. My brother skis though, he's a great downhill skier so he skis, I snowboard. I haven't been able to snowboard since sophomore year of high school so I'd probably be a little rough now.

 

On bringing Sarah Palin to a game in Minnesota -

Me and Sarah Palin aren't the closest, I'll let her decide where she wants to go.