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Purple hoops

History will be made in San Diego on Friday night — and I don’t mean having a mayor who isn’t a felon.

An Arizona college basketball team grows up and plays with the big boys. Grand Canyon University becomes even grander by opening its first Division I season for any of its many intercollegiate sports.

Yes, the little West Camelback Road college that could — did — and this year becomes a member of the Western Athletic Conference. And it’s really a big deal.

The Antelopes’ student body grows by leaps and bounds and so does its campus. They have a beautiful, state-of-the-art arena and tough opponents coming up such as New Mexico, Tulsa and our own Northern Arizona University.

GCU won’t be playing any of the universities in the state for a while because apparently its “for profit” status is scandalous to those schools that don’t quite manage to be profitable, no matter how hard they try.

Hey, guys … they aren’t Willy’s Academy of Welding. Grand Canyon’s current academic standing is excellent. So is the spiritual environment.

And as the Lopes open on the road against Loyola Marymount, it’s kind of like the first baby step on the way to the Final Four someday.

Till then, good luck GCU.

I’m Pat McMahon.