Consider Sara Hattis a double threat, literally. The junior has played for both the Texas volleyball and basketball teams. After playing volleyball her freshman season in 2012, she jumped in the with the basketball team midway through the 2012-13. There she helped the Longhorn basketball team during head coach Karen Aston's first year in charge. During her sophomore year Hattis, a middle-blocker in volleyball and a forward on the basketball court, chose to focus on volleyball and spent the winter of 2013-14 watching the basketball team from the stands. After the completion of the 2014 volleyball season, where the Longhorns fell to BYU in the national semifinals, Hattis asked Aston if she could re-join the basketball team and found an open door. The Rio Rancho, New Mexico native's favorite sports teams are the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears. Horns Illustrated sat down and talked to Hattis about the transition from volleyball to basketball this year.
Horns Illustrated: What was the 2014 volleyball season like?
Sarah Hattis: It’s always fun to go to a Final Four. I’m really proud of our team for making it that far. BYU is a really tough team, we came back to battle but, they were just the better team that night. We were proud of our season.
HI: How did you decide to come back to basketball?
SH: I just started to miss basketball a little bit. I felt to make my junior year worthwhile, I wanted to play the game I love. I asked Coach Aston is there as an opportunity to play again and she said there was. I talked to Coach Jerritt Elliott and he said it was fine so I took the opportunity and I’m glad I did.
HI: What was is like to come back to a team with an 11-0 record? How is it different from the team you were a part of freshman year?
SH: There are a lot of the same girls, a lot of new girls that I hadn’t played with that I’ve known and gotten known through school. The relationships I have with the girls are great because I’ve built them throughout the years. This team definitely has a different mindset than my freshman year. It’s fun to come into this environment and go hard every single day and expect to win every single time.
HI: How do you describe your team’s mindset?
SH: My team’s mindset is to go in and battle every single day. We can’t take teams lightly but, we have to know we are good enough to beat every team that we go up against but, we have to know that and we have to go out and play like that.
HI: What has the adjustment been like coming back to basketball? How have your teammates helped you?
SH: It’s been a little rough but, I’m getting there. I’m learning the plays and getting more acclimated. The girls are really helpful but, I’m hard on myself I want to get in there and know everything. It’s a program that’s grown and become really strong throughout in every aspect of the program. If someone seems to be getting an ego, your team is right there to snap you back into reality and say, ‘hey this is a team game and a team program and we’re going to win as a team.’
HI: How do Coach Aston and Coach Elliott differ?
SH: They both carry themselves differently. Coach Aston is a little fireball. Coach Elliott, he will get on you but, you gotta figure it out. If you can't figure it out, then he'll get on you. They're both effective in they''re own way. I respect both of them.