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Duluth Marshall's Kneepkens Chooses Utah

Created: May 05, 2020 06:59 PM

Growing up as the youngest of six siblings, with five older brothers, Duluth Marhsall junior Gianna Kneepkens has had to share the spotlight, but Tuesday was all about her.

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Surrounded by her friends and family, Kneepkens celebrated her recent college commitment.

She led the Duluth Marshall girls basketball team in scoring averaging 31 points per game helping the Hilltoppers win their first ever game at the state tournament. With over 2,800 career points, she's the all-time highest point scorer for the Hilltoppers among both the girls and boys programs. She had 17 Division I offers, but decided on the University of Utah.

"They passionately pursued me from the beginning," said Kneepkens. "They also showed me how they would support me socially, spiritually, academically, and athletically which is super important to me. They showed their academic rigor, how they had opportunities outside the classroom to help me reach my ultimate goal of hopefully becoming a doctor or some type of medicine," she added.

Kneepkens credits her development to those around her including Class AA's Coach of the Year in Duluth Marshall's CJ Osuchukwu and Dyami Starks of Starks Academy. Starks says he met Kneepkens when she was about in 8th grade and one of his first kids in his academy.

"Just this little scrawny kid, blonde hair just coming into the gym, kind of unassuming, but obviously she blossomed into something great, something special," Starks explained about meeting Kneepkens. "I really don't like put a ceiling on my kids. I just say 'okay, we're going to get to work and see where it takes us.' Obviously growing into the young woman she is now, I don't think anybody saw this. [I'm] so, so, so proud of her and I have to say it, I'm not really surprised knowing the make up of this kid.," he added.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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