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Former Linn-Mar Stars Gibbs, Paige Making Mark At NCAAs

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SAN ANTONIO How much does Creighton University think of former Linn-Mar basketball player Grant Gibbs?

Enough to turn this season's College Basketball Player of the Year into a walk-on. Enough for the school's men's basketball coach to shell out $44,000 without a squawk.

The back story: Gibbs' college career was done last March when the Bluejays lost to Duke in the third-round of the NCAA tournament. He was a fifth-year senior, and that was that.

"I said I'd sit out and not do anything for two months and then figure out what I was going to do," Gibbs said. "I did that, and after two months I still didn't have anything figured out. I was going to try to play in Europe as a backup plan."

But as time passed last spring, Creighton Coach Greg McDermott and Gibbs decided to apply to the NCAA for the player to get a sixth year of eligibility since he didn't play in his first year at Gonzaga because of a torn labrum, and after transferring to Creighton, couldn't practice in his first year there because of microfracture knee surgery.

So he only got three years of playing time in five years. The NCAA, in a move that surprised many, granted Gibbs a sixth season via a second medical red-shirt year.

But the Bluejays already had the maximum number of scholarship players (13) when the NCAA made the ruling last July, so McDermott took his superstar son, Doug, off scholarship and made him a walk-on for his senior season.

"It was a tremendous gesture, obviously, by Coach and Doug to do that for me to be able to come back one more year," Gibbs said here Thursday. "I think he's kind of solidified his spot as probably the best walk-on in the nation with that."

And, Gibbs has another distinction. He was a neighbor of another point guard who has made an impression in college basketball after graduating from Linn-Mar, North Carolina sophomore Marcus Paige.

"He grew up right up the street from me," Gibbs said. "Our age gap is actually pretty strange, playing college basketball together."

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