Austin Hatch

Austin Hatch’s inspirational basketball career has come to a close


Austin Hatch’s basketball career took another turn on Monday, as Michigan announced that he will be taking a medical redshirt and continuing his basketball career as a undergraduate student assistant.

“Basketball has always been a huge part of my life, however, it is what I play, not who I am,” said Hatch in a statement released by the team. “It was a goal of mine to return to the game that I love so much and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play for Michigan. After all that I have been through, it was a dream come true for me to put on a Michigan jersey and get into a game at Crisler Center.”

“As I have progressed through this first season, I know that I am not where I want to be, both academically and athletically. My priority is academics and I feel that it is in my best interest to devote more time to my studies. This decision honors my father, and it is something that I know he would agree with and be proud of me for making.”

By now you likely know Hatch’s story. He’s a two-time survivor of small plane crashes that took the life of his entire immediate family. After spending months in a coma following a crash in 2011, Hatch worked his way back into basketball shape and eventually took the floor for Michigan this season.

“What makes this move equally important is, with NCAA rules, it allows Austin to continue to be a valuable asset to our team as a leader, mentor and assistant,” head coach John Beilein said. “As a student assistant coach, Austin will be allowed to continue to be engaged in our practice and training and to travel with us when it can fit into his academic schedule. The only real change will be that he will no longer be on our active roster or allowed to play in games.”
“Austin remains an important part of our program and culture, even if we do not have that chance to see him compete again.”

Michigan’s Austin Hatch to receive USBWA’s 2015 Most Courageous Award

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Michigan freshman Austin Hatch will receive the 2015 USBWA’s Most Courageous Award at a luncheon at the Final Four on April 6, the USBWA announced on Monday.

The 6-foot-6 Hatch survived two plane crashes during his life, losing family members in both of them, and also going through two months in a coma with a traumatic brain injury following the second crash.

The freshman has been an inspiration to basketball fans across the world this season by continuing to work hard for the Michigan basketball program while overcoming his difficult past. Hatch has appeared in four games this season as a scholarship player for the Wolverines and scored his first career point in a Dec. 22 game against Coppin State.

Past winners of the USBWA’s Most Courageous Award can be viewed here.

Fifteen unforgettable college basketball moments from 2014

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1. UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams both win national titles, only school to do so … and they’ve done once before

The UConn men’s basketball team won its second national championship on Apr. 7, an improbable run culminating in a wire-to-wire win over Kentucky. The following night, the women’s basketball team capped an undefeated season, repeating as national champion. Since 1999, the two programs have combined for 12 titles. UConn is the only school to have dual champions in the same season, first doing so in 2004.

2. Aaron Harrison’s 3-pointers vs. Michigan and Wisconsin put Kentucky in the national championship game

Kentucky entered the 2014 NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed, a disappointing seed given the preseason hype around the team. The Wildcats went through growing pains all season long, and hit their stride in March, reaching the national title game with dramatic wins over Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin. In the latter two, Aaron Harrison cemented himself as one of the clutchest players in the tournament’s history with identical shots against Michigan and Wisconsin.

source: AP

3. Lauren Hill inspires nation through her fight with inoperable brain cancer

By now you know the story of Lauren Hill, the freshman at Mount St. Joseph in Ohio. She was diagnosed last season with terminal brain cancer. She has inspired others by continuing to pursue her dream of playing college basketball while also raising awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. The NCAA approved moving her team’s season debut up to Nov. 2, in which she scored the season’s first basket. Hill has appeared in several more games before being named honorary coach. So far, she has helped raise over $1 million.

4. UMass guard Derrick Gordon becomes the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball

Months after NFL Draft hopeful Michael Sam announced he was gay, UMass junior guard Derrick Gordon did the same, becoming the first active player in men’s Division I basketball to do so. Gordon, in his second season with the Minutemen, is averaging 11.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 steals per game.

5. Rashad McCants reveals he took bogus classes at North Carolina in order to remain eligible

There has been controversy around the North Carolina athletic department for quite some time. In June, Rashad McCants, a member of the 2005 national championship team, accused Roy Williams of steering him into no-show, paper classes in order to remain eligible. This sparked the reopening of an NCAA investigation, in whichKenneth Wainstein, a former member of the U.S. Justice Department, found 18 years of academic fraud. McCants, who spent four years in the NBA, has been relatively quiet since claiming UNC and the NCAA were set to pay him $310 million.

6. Kentucky’s platoon system is unveiled

With nine McDonald’s All-Americas on the roster, and several holdover John Calipari was not expecting on having, how was Kentucky going to divide the play time so everyone would be satisfied? Easy, Coach Cal implemented a platoon system. It’s not always going to be the game plan, but it’ll certainly continue to be a talking point into 2015.


7. Wichita State runs the table, 31-0 regular season

Gregg Marshall followed a Final Four run in 2013 with 35 consecutive wins. The Shockers capped off a perfect 31-0 regular season with a 68-45 win over Missouri State. Wichita State would win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and advance to the Round of 32 where the Shockers met Kentucky in arguably the best game of the year. It took a Kentucky team, playing its best basketball of the season, to narrowly hand Wichita State a loss.

8. Adreian Payne’s friendship with 8-year-old cancer patient, Lacey Holsworth

In February, Jason King of Bleacher Report told the heartwarming story of Michigan State big man Adreian Payne befriending 8-year-old cancer patient, Lacey Holsworth. The nation really got to know Princess Lacey when she became part of Payne’s Senior Night. Lacey died in April. Payne and Michigan State gave her a brought her so much joy in her final months — inviting her to the East Regionals in New York and to Dallas to watch Payne in the college basketball dunk contest — and in return she touched countless lives, stretching far beyond the East Lansing campus.

9. Shabazz Napier tells reporters he goes to bed “starving” weeks before leading UConn to the national title

The NCAA has consistently been under fire for its lack of compensation for student-athletes. In March, UConn senior Shabazz Napier went on record stating, “I don’t feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving.” That quote were originally from late March, but didn’t gain traction until CNN posted it right before the national title. Without UConn’s championship run, those comments likely don’t get the attention it did. The NCAA approved unlimited snacks a week later.

10. Doug McDermott scores his 3,000th point in a Creighton uniform

On Senior Night, Creighton forward Doug McDermott became only the eighth player in NCAA history to score 3,000 points. Naturally he surpassed the milestone with a 3-pointer en route to 45 points in a win over Providence. McDermott, now a rookie with the Chicago Bulls, ended with 3,150 career points.

Getty Images

11. Jim Boeheim’s jacket becomes the focal point of an epic meltdown

The first matchup between Syracuse and Duke as ACC rivals was an instant classic with the Orange prevailing in overtime. The second meeting looked to become another thriller until Jim Boeheim had a Hall of Fame worthy tantrum. C.J. Fair was called for a controversial charge with 10.4 seconds left and the Blue Devils leading 60-58. Boeheim, quite simply, lost it. Racing down the sideline, saying words I can’t write on this website and getting ejected from the came. Duke was able to secure the win from the line thanks to the meltdown. This also sparked some of the greatest memes.

12. Austin Hatch, a two-time plane crash survivor, scores his first point for Michigan

The Michigan freshman has endured more than you can imagine over the years. He’s been involved in two plane crashes, resulting in the death of five family members. Michigan promised to honor his scholarship, and earlier this month he scored his first career points.

13. Mercer upset sets Duke, Kevin Canevari does the ‘Nae-Nae’

The upset of the tournament was No. 14 Mercer over No. 3 Duke in the Round of 64. Plenty came from this game. There was an awesome postgame interview. Lehigh, which upset Duke in a 2012, and Florida Gulf Coast, Mercer’s conference rival and previous tournament darling, tweeted congratulations. Duke legend Christian Laettner tweeted that this wouldn’t have happened during his career. But the most memorable was Mercer reserve guard Kevin Canevari doing the ‘Nae-Nae’.

14. Dayton’s Elite 8 run

The Flyers started Atlantic 10 Conference play 1-5 after cracking the top 25 rankings in November. Dayton recovered to win 23 games and become one of six bids from the A10, as a No. 11 seed. In the Round of 64, the Flyers were slotted against in-state rival Ohio State, upsetting the Buckeyes before taking down No. 3 Syracuse and then topping No. 10 Stanford in the Sweet 16. The run came to an end against top-seeded Florida. The run turned Dayton head coach Archie Miller into a prime candidate for several coaching vacancies, but he signed an extension in March.

15. Wofford’s Aerris Smith delivers a passionate speech in his final collegiate game

This may not be as well known as other moments in 2014, but this is truly an incredible speech. Wofford forward Aerris Smith had his senior season dominated by injuries. After the Terriers won the Southern Conference Tournament championship, Smith announced that he had played in his final game.

Two-time plane crash survivor Austin Hatch scores first career point in Michigan win (VIDEO)

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Michigan freshman Austin Hatch had to overcome a lot just to continue his basketball career. The two-time plane crash survivor scored his first career college point on Monday night as he hit a second-half free throw in an easy Wolverine win.

Although John Beilein’s ballclub has struggled in the non-conference portion of this season, this is a tremendously uplifting moment for their program as Michigan ended up beating Coppin State, 72-56.

Hatch finished 1-for-3 from the free-throw line and also missed a three-pointer in the game. This is the third time Hatch had entered a regular season game for Michigan in 2014, as he also saw some garbage time minutes against Hillsdale and Nicholls State. Hatch failed to score in both of those contests.

Here’s the video of Hatch’s first career point:

Nice to see Michigan’s fans showing so much support during a cool moment. This crowd isn’t quite as enthusiastic as the first time Hatch scored in high school after the second plane crash, but I still applaud the effort.

Michigan freshman, plane crash survivor Austin Hatch gets first college points in exhibition win [VIDEO]

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Michigan freshman Austin Hatch made a free throw in a home exhibition win on Monday night during a win over Wayne State. But this wasn’t your typical freshman scoring his first collegiate point. It was the forward’s first point of his college career after surviving two plane crashes during high school. Michigan eventually pulled away for an 86-43 over Wayne State as Hatch finished with two points.

Hatch received some minutes during Michigan’s European exhibition trip this summer, but these were his first points of his college career and they were certainly meaningful. It’s nice to see Hatch get on the floor and contribute and hopefully he can keep building up some minutes over the next few years of his college career.

The 6-foot-6 Hatch isn’t expected to be a regular contributor for Michigan this season. This didn’t receive quite the ovation like Hatch’s first points from when he returned during his high school career, but still a terrific moment for a player who has worked very hard to reach this point in his basketball career.

Michigan freshman discusses his return to the basketball court (VIDEO)

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In Michigan’s win over the Perugia Select Team on Sunday, freshman guard Austin Hatch saw his first action as a Wolverine. Hatch played just three minutes in that blowout victory, but his appearance on the court represented a significant step forward for a young man who’s been through a lot in his young life.

In two separate plane crashes Hatch lost his parents and siblings, and in aftermath of the second crash doctors feared that Hatch wouldn’t ever play basketball again. Friday morning Hatch appeared on the “Today Show,” discussing his path on Ann Arbor with NBC News’ Maris Shriver.