Hannemann's Recovery Process Has Officially Ended|
Like many high school basketball players, Katie Hannemann dreamt of playing Division-I college basketball, however, injuries became an obstacle. While playing at Providence High School, Hannemann tore her meniscus and suffered from an MCL injury. So, when the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) showed interest in her, there was an instant attraction. Not only was the location and great education appealing, but the opportunity she would have to fulfill her dream solidified her intent to play for the Flames.
Upon arriving at UIC, Hannemann set one clear goal for herself.
“I want to be a main contributor at some point in my career, and to develop more as a post player,” said Hannemann.
Hannemann’s early career at UIC had a rocky start. Her freshman season, she battled injuries that limited her to playing a mere two games before being forced to medical redshirt. During her sophomore year she played in 15 games, setting a career-high of 11 points, yet only averaging 4.1 points per game. There was no doubt that she was struggling due to her battle with an injured knee cap.
“I remember I kept trying to play on it, and it would dislocate,” said Hannemann. “I would have to sit out for two weeks or kind of slowly get back into it for two weeks, then I would be at full force and it would dislocate and I had to go back.”
Midway through the 2010-2011 season, Hannemann had to make an important decision regarding her future basketball career.
“I finally made the decision to end my season early (January) and just have surgery, because I was either going to have surgery at that point or at the end of the season,” said Hannemann.
After an eight month recovery process, Hannemann worked very closely with the Flames coaching staff to properly condition in order to be able to play at the high intensity of a Division-I program again.
“It was definitely tough because it was such a serious surgery, getting back in the swing of things was difficult,” said Hannemann. “Having to learn how to cut, how to sprint, and strengthening my leg to the point where I could play in a high intensity situations was a challenge. Previously when I would play, I would worry about it dislocating, but now I have to tell myself, no I’m fine now, I had surgery for it and so it was mentally tough as well.”
Hannemann finally made her debut back full force for the Flames in October of the 2011-2012 season. She played in 30 games, starting nine, but still only averaged 3.9 points per game. That comeback season was a learning process for Hannemann because it was the first time since high school that she did not have any external factors affecting her game.
During this past offseason, Hannemann made a crucial change to her game. She decided it was time to take the leadership role and advanced her conditioning regimen, which would allow her to play at higher level of intensity.
“I’ve always known that I can play to a higher level, conditioning wise, I just really wanted to get there this past offseason, so I kept working out with Drew McMillin (Strength and Conditioning Coach) and the rest of the coaching staff,” said Hannemann.
This season has really showed the commitment Hannemann has when it comes to reaching the goal she set for herself when she first came to UIC. As of Feb. 15, Hannemann has increased her scoring average by 9.3 points per game since last season, ranking second among all Horizon League returnees. In addition to her outstanding progress, Hannemann was named Conference Player of the Week, February 11th, after setting a career-high 29 points against Milwaukee. Although the team’s overall conference record is 3-6, the season is far from over. Hannemann is still working hard and has great confidence in her teammates to gain some momentum going into the final stretch of the season.
“We are definitely capable of winning all of our games in the Horizon League,” said Hannemann. “All the games in our league are competitive and I definitely think that we have a chance to be one of the top teams in the conference.”
Through her years at UIC, Hannemann has created relationships with her teammates in which they look up to her on and off the court. Next season she will play her final year as a Flame, and continue to lead her team with extraordinary maturity.
“As I have gotten older I have realized that I really love everyone on my team and I don’t just want to do it (win games) for myself but I really want to see everyone else succeed as well,” said Hannemann.