(Editor's note: Griz Communications release)
Sammy Fatkin, who previously played for the Montana women’s basketball team, has rejoined the Lady Griz.
Fatkin will have one season of eligibility remaining. She will be a senior in 2021-22 under first-year Montana coach Brian Holsinger.
“The opportunity to play for the Lady Griz again is something she teared up about, and that resonated with me,” said Holsinger. “She loves the game and didn’t feel like her career was complete on the floor and that she still has more to give.
“She understands what’s important and how she wants to finish this and is willing to do the hard work and make the sacrifices to be successful.”
Fatkin started the final 15 games of the 2018-19 season, her first as a Lady Griz after transferring from Arizona. That included a 19-point performance in a home win over Idaho and 16 in a road win at Weber State on 4-of-8 shooting from the arc.
She played part of the 2019-20 season. And now she’s back.
“I’ve always had a passion for the game of basketball. I feel that’s the gift I was blessed with, and that passion never went away,” said Fatkin, who earned an undergraduate degree from Montana last winter.
“I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to play the game I love again. I’m thankful for it and I want to enjoy it. That’s my main goal.”
Fatkin, who will begin working on a master’s degree in public administration when classes commence in August, is no stranger to Holsinger, who knew of her as a prep standout at Glacier Peak High in Snohomish, Wash.
He coached against her when he was at Oregon State and Fatkin was a freshman at Arizona in 2017-18.
If the idea of competing for the Lady Griz again brought Fatkin to tears, the thought of a playing career not coming to a suitable conclusion struck a chord with Holsinger.
He loves to see every player enjoy that special moment, senior night, when everything comes together, a return on a long, consuming investment, the reward at the end of years-long journey for all involved.
“Every college basketball player deserves to have the experience when they walk out on the floor and they’re holding their jersey and their parents walk out with them and they are in tears because they are sad it’s over. They don’t want it to end,” said Holsinger.
“When we met, it’s obvious that Sammy wants to end her career that way, so it kind of matched up. She has one year left, and we want it to be exactly that for her. She is gung-ho and excited about playing again. I felt like it was a great fit.”
Fatkin remained in touch with Lady Griz assistant coach Jordan Sullivan over the months, and one of their conversations led to Fatkin rejoining the team.
Fatkin asked about getting some video from her previous stint as a Lady Griz. She wanted to explore some options of continuing -- and concluding -- her playing career.
Sullivan put all the cards on the table. She told Fatkin, “’I could do that, but why would I need a highlight film of you? I already know what you can do on the court.’ That’s how the conversation sparked.”
Fatkin considered it, which led to multiple conversations between her and the new staff. The end result? Sammy Fatkin is going to get that senior night. Even better, it will be at Montana.
“When I met the new coaching staff, I quickly determined this is something I want to be a part of,” said Fatkin.
“Getting to know Brian as a person and knowing what he’s about and what his intentions are and what he wants to bring to Missoula with Lady Griz basketball, it’s something I want to be a part of. It’s a really exciting time.”