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Blazers Guard Pat Connaughton Drew Dunking Inspiration from Vince Carter

Jason Quick of NBCSports Northwest details a young man’s quest to soar.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers guard Pat Connaughton was drafted out of Notre Dame on the basis of his athleticism, including his ability to dunk the ball with ease. Jason Quick of NBCSports Northwest interviewed Connaughton this week and found out that his core inspiration for slam dunks was one of the all-time NBA greats, Vince Carter.

As Quick chronicles, upon reading that Carter first dunked in 8th grade, Connaughton developed an obsession.

“I thought: ‘I want to be able to dunk’ … I just really wanted to do it,’’ Connaughton remembered.

His dad bought him a weighted vest, and throughout the summer between 7th and 8th grade Connaughton would jump up two steps and back down while wearing the vest, doing three sets of 20 repetitions.

In the winter of 8th grade, he finally dunked.

“Then, I was addicted,’’ Connaughton said.

Connaughton’s potential for rim-racking mayhem hasn’t gone unnoticed around the league or among teammates, including Damian Lillard. Quick’s article includes reactions from Pat’s All-Star teammate.