Cathedral Catholic hoops star uses art to inspire her on basketball court

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SAN DIEGO -- Mazatlan Harris, or "Mazi" as her teammates call her, looks to have a standout basketball season at Cathedral Catholic this year. She's tall, talented and the junior even has a knack for art.

Standing six feet, three inches tall, Harris is tough to miss on the basketball court. Her height combined with her versatile skill set make her a tough forward to guard.

"I feel like I have improved way better than I was freshman year," said Harris. "Coming in I was super shy, didn't want to get out there but I've slowly gone into scoring and getting more opportunities to shoot the ball."

She leads the team in scoring and rebounds but thanks to her modesty, those stats don't mean much to the junior.

"I don't think she's always recognized how much she can do and how big a mismatch she has at times," said head coach Jackie Turpin.

Turpin has known Harris since she was in third grade and has watched her blossom both on and off the court.

"Since her freshman year, I've kind of run her through all five spots on the floor and she just never questions it. 'Yes coach, what's best for the team' and that attitude that she takes into practice and into games, it's just propelled her to continuing to get better," said Turpin.

In addition to Harris' talents on the basketball court, she's also an accomplished artist. She says she oftentimes draws motivation from nature and inspirational quotes, including one from her favorite movie, the Lion King.

"The past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it," said Harris. "It doesn't matter what you do in the past, you just have to move on and mistakes are what make you better."

Harris says she tries to translate her favorite inspirational quotes onto the court.

"Most of my quotes are about encouraging yourself to get out there so I try to showcase myself on the court and then help my teammates to showcase themselves and it all just flows together," said Harris.

"She's not the most talkative all the time and I think she's able to get out some of her feelings and just thoughts on paper and just has a different view on things which is really neat to see," said Turpin.

Harris might be soft-spoken, but coach Turpin says she's always quick with a smile. She's received a handful of college basketball offers but admits art might be her true passion.

"Definitely to play basketball in college and then once I graduate, maybe be an art teacher or something but I don't think I'm going to be playing basketball for like ever, ever," said Harris.

The Dons are currently 9-3 and play Mater Dei Catholic next.

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