Dec 19, 2012 3:36 PM by Bill Halter
Atascadero basketball player Mary Kate Evans is known for her athleticism but the senior was grounded for six months after tearing the MCL in her knee during the CIF-Southern Section quarterfinals last year.
"It just shows you how fast it can be taken away. You have to work really hard all the time and enjoy it while it lasts because it goes away fast" said Evans.
Evans was crushed to have to watch her team lose in the semifinals. She then had to worry about whether Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh was still interested in her.
"I went into her office when I was on crutches and I was heartbroken and when she made me the (scholarship) offer it just gave me something to look forward to and something to work toward. And it just showed me that she really cared about me and trusted me that I would get better" recalls Evans.
Mimnaugh has signed high school players in the past after serious knee injuries, including Kristina Santiago who turned out to be the best player in program history after tearing her ACL in high school. "When you know the character of the person, you know how committed they are and how much they love the game than I feel like that person can overcome any odds that they face and that's certainly the case with Mary Kate, it didn't scare me off at all" said Mimnaugh.
Mimnaugh likes Evans' versatility and thinks she'll be able to play small forward and power forward in college. "Mary Kate is very skilled. She's very cerebral in her approach. As she continues to become more aggressive I think she's going to become a very fine player" said Mimnaugh.
Evans was able to play a full volleyball season this fall, helping the Greyhounds to a 17-11 season. Through seven basketball games Evans looks like she did before the injury.
"I think she's back even stronger than where she was. I think the rehab process has made her a much stronger athlete" said Atascadero head coach Jim Stecher.
Evans is leading Atascadero in points, rebounds, steals and blocks as the Greyhounds are off to a 5-2 start. She's averaging 15.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Last season Evans averaged 17.7 points and 12 rebounds.
Evans joins Morro Bay's Hannah Gilbert as local players committed to play at Cal Poly next year.
Evans has been accepted into Cal Poly's engineering program and plans to pursue a degree in environmental engineering.
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