CHARACTER COUNTS

Casa Grande sophomore making most of his time on and off basketball court

Dec 5, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: Dec 20, 2023, 9:04 am

Casa Grande Union High School...

Casa Grande Union High School logo

Casa Grande Union High School sophomore Phinneas Linehan aspires to make it to the next level on the basketball court while maintaining a high academic level with law school on his radar.

Linehan, 15, made the varsity basketball team this season as a guard after improving his vision and shooting touch. The sport has meant a lot to him since he was 7 years old, and Phoenix Suns merchandise hangs around his room.

But Linehan also has a lot going on off the court. For starters, he is one of 10 siblings, nearly smack-dab in the middle as the fifth oldest. His eldest sibling is 26 years old while he has a 6-year-old sister on the other end of the age range. Five boys and five girls make up the family.

“I play (basketball) with my (13-year-old) brother a little bit, we have little competitions and everything,” Linehan said. “I teach him stuff I learned from practice because I don’t want to be gatekeeping. So I teach him up and he’s good. He plays on a team as well. … With their homework as well, I help them … they come to me first, instead of my parents.”

Linehan has a 4.3 GPA, fitting in his work and tutoring friends and siblings between the end of school at 3:15 p.m. and the start of practice at 6:30 p.m.

He is taking honors chemistry and AP world history with plans to take more advanced classes next year and signed up with Upward Bound, a federal program that supports students working toward higher education.

He received an email followed by a letter a couple months back with an invitation to attend a Stanford Law School summer program. He said it came out of the blue but felt it was sent because he has kept his grades up.

“I feel like it’s something I really want to do. It could help with experience because I don’t have that much experience with law,” Linehan said. “My dad is a cop, so he could teach me something a little bit but with law school, with this program, I feel like it could really help me because they offer knowledge … and could help me in my future because then I could put it on my resume that I have experience and I’m not winging it into law school.”

“Financially, I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to do it because it’s expensive and I have a lot of siblings,” he added.

Away from the classroom and the court, Linehan has a few plans to help others this holiday season.

Linehan has helped with “Blue Santa” for nearly a decade, handing out presents to children in the community with Santa Claus dressed in blue instead of red. With his father working in public safety, he has also volunteered with “Shop-with-a-Cop” events to help kids get school supplies.

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Casa Grande sophomore making most of his time on and off basketball court