Despite plane crashes, Michigan recruit Austin Hatch still focused on hoops


Austin Hatch isn’t letting tragedy or plane crashes prevent him from playing college basketball.

Not when that what he and his dad envisioned.

This story from the Detroit Free Press provides an excellent update on Hatch, the Ft. Wayne, Ind., player who was in a plane crash last June that killed his father and stepmother. (Hatch was in another crash years earlier, one that killed his mother and two siblings.) This left him with severe injuries, including a punctured lung, busted ribs and brain trauma.

But after nearly a year of extensive physical rehabilitation, Hatch still intends on playing for Michigan starting in the 2013-14 season. He can’t wait to suit up for Wolverines coach John Beilein, who talks to Hatch “a couple times a month.”

“He is one of the best guys that I know, he’s unbelievable,” Hatch told the paper. “He says you’re not going to be as good at basketball — not yet. It takes time. He understands my road to recovery is not going to be an easy one. It’s going to take a lot of work. He’s still supportive of me and everything. It’s pretty cool.

“I’m still going on a full basketball scholarship. I’ll still be on the team and all of that and go to practice and everything. But I just don’t know if I’ll be quite as good as I was before. But I still have over a year until then, so a lot can happen.”

The 6-6 Hatch might not be a college star, or even a starter for Michigan. But after all he’s been through, that’s hardly the most important thing.

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