After helping Duluth Marshall return to the state tournament for the first time in 20 years as a junior in 2019-20, Gianna Kneepkens will continue her education and basketball career at the NCAA Division I level, verbally committing to Utah on Sunday.
Kneepkens is listed as a guard, but can play anywhere for the Hilltoppers, according to coach C.J. Osuchukwu. She was among the state's scoring leaders this year averaging 32 points per game. With an injured hamstring, she posted 24 points in the win over Pequot Lakes in the Section 7AA championship game.
“Gianna at 50 or 60% is better than most girls at 100%,” Osuchukwu told the News Tribune in the lead up to the state tournament. “When other teams try to speed her up, she uses her brain. She’s smart. She knows how to play basketball.”
In its first appearance at state since 2000, Marshall upset third-seeded New London in the Class AA quarterfinals in Minneapolis on March 11. The rest of the tournament was canceled two days later because of the COVID-19 pandemic, on the day the Hilltoppers were to play Providence Academy.