Getting to Know U: Freshman Gianna Kneepkens
Utah women's basketball signed two talented players from Minnesota for the upcoming season. Today we hear from Gianna Kneepkens. Kneepkens was a three-time all-conference honoree for Duluth Marshall High School. She was also a two-time all-state selection. She set the Duluth Marshall career scoring record and ranks in the top-10 in all-time scoring in Minnesota. She scored a career-high 51 points in a game in 2019. During her junior season at Duluth Marshall, Kneepkens averaged 31.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.8 steals, and 4.6 assists per game.
Kneepkens recently caught up with UtahUtes.com to chat about why she is looking forward to this season, what made her fall in love with the game, and what her dream job is after graduation.
Season tickets for the 2021-22 season are now available. Floor seats are priced at $100 while general admission tickets at $25. Call the Utah ticket office at 801-581-UTIX or
Q: When did you start playing basketball? Who was your favorite player growing up?
A: I have been playing basketball in my driveway since I can remember. I grew up playing against my five older brothers pretty much every day. I officially joined a team when I was in 1st grade. I have always watched a variety of people depending on what I wanted to work on. Some of those players include Paul George and Damian Lillard.
Q: What about the sport of basketball made you fall in love with it?
A: There is so much I love about basketball. I love how competitive it is and how creative you can become. I love that you have to depend on others and others have to depend on you. I love that the harder you work, the easier you can make the game look even though it is more complex.
Q: What about the University of Utah made you want to continue your career here?
A: I think the University took a great deal of interest in who I am. They had a good sense of where I was as a player, and they did a great job explaining the areas in which I needed to grow. The coaching staff took a sincere interest in my academic goals and attaining those goals while playing for them. They also play in the Pac 12, which is the toughest conference with the highest level of competition. Of the game film I watched, it seemed that my skills could serve Utah the best. I liked Coach Rob's vision, and I wanted to be part of it. Utah checked all my boxes.
Q: What has been your favorite part about playing basketball at Utah so Far?
A: My teammates and coaches are exceptional individuals. They have fun and are so caring. They want to win, and so do I. Also, the resources for players are excellent, the facilities are top-notch, and the food is delicious too.
Q: Who in your life has been the most influential in getting you where you are today?
A: It is challenging to say who is the most influential person to get me where I am today. I was blessed to have the right people at the right time of development. I think what was most impressive was the number of individuals who gave unconditionally for my sake. I have been blessed beyond measure, and it would not be fair to name just one person. I am grateful for all of them.
Q: What is your dream job and why?
A: I would like to play basketball for as long as possible, but eventually become a doctor.
Q: What was it like growing up in your hometown? Any specific memories that stand out?
A: I Loved growing up in Duluth. I had such supportive people around me that I am still so grateful for. Some of my favorite memories include spending time by the lake with my friends/family.
Q: What is your favorite basketball moment growing and why?
A: My favorite basketball moment had to be the come from behind victory at the State Tournament. This was my favorite because my team had a previous history of averaging 3 wins a season and 88 straight conference losses. When we went to state, we were not ranked, and the victory surprised everyone. Sadly, the tournament was cut short because of COVID. I also had the opportunity to play in the national championship for AAU. That was pretty fun.
Q: What is something people might not know about you?
A: I think most people don't know that I played the violin in grade school and high school. Another fun fact is my favorite dessert is cookies, and I like to tube at my cabin when I get the chance.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this season?
A: I am looking forward to seeing our team's chemistry on the court. I know if you don't get along off the court, you will struggle on the court. I think we genuinely like and care for each other. I think we all want each other to succeed. I think that chemistry will help our skills which will bring forth success on the court.
Q: What is it like playing in the Jon M. Huntsman Center?
A: I have only practiced in the Huntsman center, but I am already excited about the atmosphere. The Huntsman is unique and one of the largest basketball venues I have been able to play in. I am excited about the opportunity and plan to help our team fill up those seats.
Q: What is your favorite moment as a Ute?
A: My favorite moment as a UTE has been the small things, dinners together, after-hour workouts with fellow teammates, and the pranks people play on each other. I know there will be bigger and better moments, but so far, it has been pretty amazing.
Q: How appreciative are you for our fans?
A: So so so Appreciative. I have only been here a short time and some fans have come up and introduced themselves. It makes playing even more fun with a crowd full of excited people. Fans make a good win, great.
Q: If you could tell our fans one thing, what would it be?
A: I promise to work hard, give the game my all. Please come out and cheer us on and we will make it worth it. And of course, Thank you!
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Fans can follow along during the 2021-22 season on social media (Twitter: @UtahWBB | Instagram: @UtahWBB | Facebook: Facebook.com/UtahWBB).