I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Austin Hatch held a quite remarkable press conference today, speaking publicly for the first time since surviving his second plane crash in the summer of 2011. A Fort Wayne TV station posted a report with video from the press conference (video embedded in a reply), and there's also a report from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (from which I took the thread title):
"Aside from the physical trauma that I suffered in the accident and recovered from that, the emotional pain will never fully subside," said Hatch, whose news conference was streamed live.
"Dealing with the loss of my best friend and coach and teacher and No. 1 fan in Dr. Stephen Hatch, who was also my father," Hatch said, "he was an incredible man and taught me everything I know. The things I learned from him are the work ethic needed to succeed, determination … those traits I acquired from him are the ones that saved my life."
. . .
His uncle, coach and Hatch himself confirmed Hatch still is not ready to return to the court competitively.
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Hatch recently signed a letter of intent to Michigan, but was unsure what his role with the team would be, whether as a manager or a practice player.
But Wolverines coach John Beilein still honored the scholarship.
"He expects me to be a part of Michigan basketball, whether on the court or off," Hatch said.
The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel has an informative in-depth piece out detailing "Austin Hatch's long road back to the basketball court." It makes it clear that Hatch is much further along in his recovery than previously known. In fact, he played in a charity 3-on-3 tournament in May, and he was cleared medically to return to actual game action for his high school team last season. But he chose not to return to the floor, with his reasoning revealing the high level of his character:
“It was down to about the last three weeks of the season and he was at the point where we felt he was capable of doing some things to help us,” [Canterbury boys basketball coach Scott] Kreiger said. “We thought if we are going to deal with the crush that is really going to come when people find out he's going to play again, we'd probably better do it now than to wait until closer to the tournament when it had the potential to be a distraction.”
Kreiger and his coaches thought the best time for Hatch's return would be at home against Bishop Luers in early February.
They sat down with Hatch to talk to him about the plans to put him back on the court.
“As soon as he realized what was going on, he spoke up and said, 'I appreciate what everybody's doing, but I'm not ready to play,'” Kreiger said. “We were dumbfounded. Here it is, his goal since he came out of the coma to get back on the court, and he's the one who says, 'I'm not ready.'”
Then Kreiger listened to Hatch's reasoning.
The coach was reminded what a unique young man sat in front of him.
“He said, 'I'm not ready to play because I'm not good enough,'” Kreiger said. “'If I went out there right now, I'm not any better than the guys that are out there, guys who've been out there all year. If I'm not good enough to go out there and win that spot, I don't belong out there.'
“You might say that's a pride thing,” Kreiger said. “That's an Austin thing. He's not going to take someone else's spot who has earned that spot just because 'I'm Austin Hatch.'”
Whether or not he regains his previous level of play, Austin Hatch will certainly be a credit to the Michigan basketball program. Good to luck to him this season as he returns to game action. He has tons of people rooting for him:
Before Hatch moved to Los Angeles this summer, he stopped by to talk to Kreiger and pulled out his phone to show Kreiger a video.
The video was of Hatch dunking at Spiece Fieldhouse.
“He said, 'I can't imagine how good it's going to feel to get those first points (in an official game),'” Kreiger said. “I told him, 'I can't imagine, either, but I bet there's going to be a whole lot of people who feel just about as good as you do when it happens.'”
UmHoops.com has some comprehensive player pages for all of Michigan's propects including recruiting site rankings and player Twitter feeds.
I know we're all very excited about the basketball team and we expect the 2014 class to fill up in the next month or so, but I stumbled on a few positive tweets from Austin Hatch that I thought should be shared.
Let's not forget this kid is part of this class. He has been though a lot and will make a TREMEDOUS Michigan Wolverine. We should all be rooting for him to live his dream.
Looks like this got lost in the midst of Fall Camp starting and all, but Austin Hatch is moving from Fort Wayne to LA to finish his high school career. Hopefully this will help his rehabbing and will get him into game shape in time for his Michigan Career to start.
Best of luck to Austin, he's been through more than most.
Scott Kreiger, the coach of Canterbury's basketball team, was interviewed at halftime of a recent girl's basketball game (podcast) and provided a brief update on Austin Hatch. Kreiger said that Hatch had been cleared for everything except for five-on-five full-court play. He also said that Hatch is determined to reach two goals—play basketball for Michigan and become a doctor. Here's a recent tweet indicating there's a chance he might yet play this season:
Austin Hatch cleared for 5 on 5 halfcourt. Still hoping he can play before season's end.— Brett R Rump (@IndianaWebSport) January 15, 2013
Great news from UMHoops. Quote from a Hatch family spokesman:
Austin Hatch has been conditionally released by his medical team to begin practicing with the Canterbury High School basketball program. The first official practice is today, however, Austin is limited to the types of drills he can participate in at this time. Although everyone is encouraged by the progress he continues to make, Austin and his family ask that you do not approach him for interviews at this time.
Some further info from Baumgardner:
To piggyback off @UMhoops report, Hatch family spokesman says it's still not determined whether Austin will play HS bball this season.
Hatch family and folks at Canterbury are still taking it day by day, but say Austin is making great progress.
Baumgardner followed up with this article: Michigan recruit Austin Hatch cleared to practice, still unsure if he'll play prep hoops this season
The family spokesman said Hatch would be participating in "about half" of his teams drills Monday, which is the first day Indiana high school basketball teams are able to practice.
It's still unclear if Hatch will play this season for Canterbury.
"We're taking each day as it comes," the spokesman said. "He's making great progress, but we're not looking any further than today."
UPDATE: Below is a WANE-TV video with clips of Austin Hatch practicing with his team yesterday, plus an interview with his high school coach, taken from this page: Hatch, Cavs Return To Practice Floor
He looks good in the video, especially considering all he's been through.
There's also a second video on the page, with a longer interview with the coach (with his team practicing in the background) in which he talks a bit more about Hatch, starting around the 2:48 mark.