Former Camel Eric Griffin signs two-way contract with Utah Jazz

Eric Griffin (17)
(photo credit: Deseret News)
Eric Griffin (17) (photo credit: Deseret News)

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Sources: North State Journal, Deseret News, Salt Lake City Tribune

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Former Campbell standout Eric Griffin has signed a two-way contract with the Utah Jazz after standing out in NBA Summer League action.

The 27-year-old averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in four games in Las Vegas, and averaged 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in three games in Utah. His rim-rocking dunks also caught the attention of the crowd.

Griffin, who attended Campbell from 2010-12, has played in Europe and the G-League. He played in Israel during the 2016-17 season.  Griffin was the last player cut by the Miami Heat in 2013 and a D-League All-Star a year later. He was signed by the Detroit Pistons in 2015, but was waived before ever playing a game with the team.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Griffin will be able to spend up to 45 days on the Jazz roster while making a pro-rata NBA salary. He'll make a standard G-League salary when sent down to the Salt Lake Stars. Each NBA team has up to two two-way contracts at their disposal this season.

After finishing his two-year career at Campbell in 2012, Griffin played with the Los Angeles Lakers summer league team.  He then signed a contract with Filieni BPA Jesi in Italy, where he averaged 17.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in 2013-14.

A forward from Orlando, Fla., Griffin was named a first-team All-Big South Conference and NABC District 3 performer following his senior season. He averaged 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds during 2011-12 for the Camels with a .610 field goal percentage. He ranked sixth in the nation in shooting and set a single-season school-record with 73 blocks. His .559 career field goal pct. is also a new school record.

In only two varsity seasons, Griffin finished third on Campbell's career blocked shots (134) list. He produced 17 career double-doubles, including 12 as a senior. In addition, he was a semifinalist in both the ESPN Dunks of the Year competition and State Farm Dark Horse Dunker race.

He recorded five of the top seven blocked shots performances by a Big South player during the 2011-12 season, including career-high six rejections at Iowa, where he scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Campbell's 77-61 win over the Hawkeyes. He topped all Big South players with seven games of 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds and set a school senior class (Division I era) record for rebounds (268).

He also earned a place on the Dale Howard Classic all-tournament team after he averaged 23.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and shot 75 percent from the field in four games. At Iowa, he shot 10-of-11 from the field. Two nights later, he hit career highs of 29 points and 14 rebounds in a loss at 25th-ranked Creighton.

Griffin was one of 64 seniors nationwide chosen to participate in the 2012 Portsmouth Invitational, the annual showcase of the country's top graduating players. He averaged 11.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over 3 games.

If he makes the Jazz regular season roster, Griffin would not be the first NBA player from Campbell. George Lehmann, who played for Campbell College (then a two-year institution) during the 1959-60 season, played professionally in the NBA and ABA from 1967-74 as a member of the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Stars, New York Nets, Miami Floridians, Carolina Cougars, Memphis Pros, and Memphis Tams.

Lehmann averaged 11.9 points per game and 4.5 assists per game in his professional career and holds the ABA's third best career three-point field goal percentage (.365). Lehmann was the first professional basketball player to make more than 40 percent of his three point attempts in a season, which he did in 1970-71.

The only Camel ever to be selected in the NBA Draft is Clarence Grier. Grier, a four-year letter winner who was named Big South Conference player of the year in 1987, was taken 151st overall in the seventh round of the 1987 draft by the Houston Rockets.