Gianna Kneepkens Part Of First Dawg Class Academy

Apr 18, 2023, 9:32 AM | Updated: 2:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah guard Gianna Kneepkens has established herself as one of the best in college women’s hoops and Kelsey Plum agreed, inviting Kneepkens to her first-ever Dawg Class Academy.

Plum, who played college ball at Washington from 2013-17 and now plays professionally in the WNBA with the Las Vegas Aces, announced last fall her plans to partner with Under Armour to give back to outstanding women collegiate players. It is Plum’s hope her three-day course will help better prepare young women to make the jump from the college to professional level.

Not only will Plum help take these women through a crash course of how to be a “dawg” on the court, but off of it as well providing valuable information from training, mental prep, nutrition, financial literacy and personal brand development among other topics.

The Inaugural Dawg Class

Kneepkens is joined by eight other elite talents at guard in Plum’s inaugural Dawg Class Academy. Deja Kelly, Haily Van Lith, Raven Johnson, Diamond Miller, Azzi Fudd, Rori Harmon, Georgia Amoore, and KK Bransford will also be participating.

Kneepkens’ Immediate Impact For The Utes

The 5’11” guard proved herself to be an asset right out of the gate as a freshman in 2022, appearing in 33 games with 25 starts while averaging 23.7 minutes, 11.8 points, and 4.4 rebounds per game. With Kneepkens’ help, the Utes made it all the way to the Pac-12 Championship Game before losing to Stanford. The effort was good enough for the team’s first invite to the NCAA Tournament since 2011.

Kneepkens went on to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, First Team All-Pac-12, and Pac-12 All-Freshman honors that year. She became just the second player in Utah history to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors.

2023 proved to be no different for Kneepkens who started in all 32 games, averaging 28.3 minutes, 15.3 points, and 5.2 rebounds per game. Her efforts put her in the race for the Cheryl Miller Award, making the Top 5 cut and earned her Pac-12 First Team All-Conference for the second time in her career.

With Kneepkens’ help, Utah reached even higher heights than the year before, earning a piece of the Pac-12 Title in the regular season for the first time in program history, and making it all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, eventually succumbing to the National Champion LSU Tigers.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Gianna Kneepkens Part Of First Dawg Class Academy