You often hear coaches talk about "toughness" in their players as a desired quality. Well, you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody "tougher" than new Idaho State women's recruit Abyee Maracigan (left). The 5-9 junior college transfer, who signed with the Bengals today, is a two-time all-American guard who also led her high school team to the Arizona state championship. But her accomplishments on the court are nothing compared to what she's had to overcome to get on the court.
Maracigan tore the ACL in her left leg in the first game of the national junior college basketball tournament this spring. That led to her fifth knee surgery -- the other four were to repair torn ligaments and the meniscus in her right knee. Oh, and to top that off, Maracigan broke her wrist -- twice -- this past season, but, after sitting out just two weeks, still managed to take the court for her Pima College team.
Bengal Coach Seton Sobelewski will have to wait until Maracigan arrives in Pocatello this summer to see how her rehab is going from her latest surgery, and make a determination if she'll be able to compete this coming season. But if her past tenacity and "toughness" are any indication, she'll probably be ready to step on the floor and compete the day she arrives in the Gate City. "If anything, this makes me stronger," Maracigan told the Arizona Daily Star after her latest surgery. "I've been through the rehab process so many times that it has changed me. I appreciate the game more than ever. Don't be surprised if I'm running again by next week."
Maracigan is more than just tough, though, she's a proven winner. Her high school and junior college teams put together a combined 145-28 record over the past five seasons. Pima College went from 5-22 the season before she arrived to 28-6 and third in the nation her first year there. "She's a glue kind of a player," Todd Holthaus, her coach at Pima, told the Daily Star. "She's just a winner of a kid. I told her she was the 'First Aztec,' my first real recruit. I would start building with her. "
Maracigan was one of two new recruits announced by Sobolewski on Wednesday. The other was another young lady used to winning -- Springville, Utah's Jessica Jensen, a 6-1 forward who led her Utah 4A state championship team in rebounding and blocked shots. Jensen averaged only 8.5 points a game her senior season, but she had to share the ball with Lexi Eaton, Utah's Player of the Year as a junior. She helped Springville to the state runner-up her junior year.
Maracigan and Jensen join point guard Sheryl Bitter, post player Cydney Horton and wing Kara Jenkins, who signed with ISU in the fall. Sobolewski still has scholarships to give and he and his staff are out looking for a true, back-to-the basket post-up threat to replace departing senior Oana Iacovita, and they remain involved with other recruiting prospects.