further adventures in Jed York being unsuited for his position
I'm sure glad we didn't handle the Austin Hatch case in similar fashion. Feel sorry for the kid.
Ok, I know, I know... It's the Freep, but shouldn't stop you from reading about this inspirational story. This young man continues to impress with his fight, and will to attend and play basketball for Michigan. If ever, this kid is a Michigan Man.
Here's some Michigan-related March Madness from Indiana: Canterbury last week won its first-ever regional championship in the Class A state basketball tournament (in a double OT game, no less), despite playing all season without the player Ben Smith calls, in a Fort Wayne Journal Gazette column titled Canterbury Fights through Adversity, the "best boys basketball player in Canterbury history, truth be told"—referring, of course, to Austin Hatch.
After talking about Canterbury's two come-from-behind victories to capture the regional crown (prompting their coach to dub them the "Cardiac Cavs"), Smith says:
That would be adversity enough, if it was all there was to this story. But of course it isn’t.
The rest you can find over there on the free-throw line, lobbing up a soft shot or two and then stepping away. He’s dressed in khakis and a red shirt, because he won’t be practicing this day or any day soon. He hasn’t practiced or played in a game all season.
But he’s here. He is always here – at practice, on the bench during games, whispering advice, being there for his guys in the only way he can right now.
“He’s been an instrumental part throughout the whole season,” leading scorer Trent Van Horn says of Austin Hatch. “I think we’re all playing for him.”
“He’s a teammate. That’s the way we look at it,” Kline says. “He’s one of those guys. A special kid.”
Smith doesn't mention this in his column, but there have also been a couple of other special moments. When Canterbury captured the district and then the regional championships—both times the team had Austin Hatch cut down the nets. Here's one relevant tweet from the districts:
There was a special moment after the Canterbury/Blackhawk game when Austin Hatch cut down the net, both crowds cheered twitter.com/ryanelijah/sta…— Ryan Elijah (@ryanelijah) March 6, 2012
Canterbury will play in its first-ever "semistate" game (state semifinal) on Saturday at 1:00 pm against Rockville. To move on to the final, the team will have to overcome more adversity as their top player, point guard Chase Moyle, is out with an injury he suffered in the regional championship (see Man-down Canterbury faces difficult task). Best of luck to the Cavaliers!
Original caption from Ben Smith column: Austin Hatch has been a constant presence at practice to be with his Canterbury teammates.
I thought the following tweet from Kyle Bogenschutz of Fox Sports/Scout was encouraging to hear and worth posting:
Talking with [Mark] Donnal he mentioned his good friend Austin Hatch told him he's shooting "about as good as he did before the accident" #awesome— Kyle Bogenschutz (@KyleBogie) February 18, 2012
Also, Sam Webb has tweeted that Hatch will be in attendance at the Ohio game tonight, along with Mark Donnal and Derrick Walton Jr. I believe I read earlier that Zak Irvin will be there as well. (EDIT: That's the entire 2013 class.)
Dave Dye, in a FOX Sports Detroit article, is able to provide some more information about where Austin Hatch stands in his recovery. The overall picture seems quite encouraging. Some excerpts below.
On his attending school:
"He's really making significant progress," said Ken Harkenrider, the athletic director at Canterbury High, Hatch's school. "He doesn't go to all his classes. That would be overwhelming in terms of the length of the day. But he is spending a part of each day in school. It's exciting."
On his continued involvement with the Canterbury basketball team:
"He's been on the bench with the team for games," Harkenrider said. "They've had one away game and he traveled on the bus with them. The other day, he was shooting some free throws."
On his future in basketball:
Greg Jones, an editor for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's high school sports coverage, said he's been told that Hatch is determined to return to basketball.
Hatch has been spotted working out occasionally at different local gyms in recent weeks.
"It's kind of a good distraction, motivation and a goal for him," Jones said. "He definitely has the desire. Time will tell whether physically he's able to do it."
According to a brief WANE item, Austin Hatch's family released a statement today that says:
"Austin continues to make great strides in his rehabilitation; this first year is vital to the recovery process. As a result, it is unlikely that Austin's physicians will clear him to play basketball this season."
Regardless of when he might be able to get back on the court, it's good to hear that he continues to make progress in his recovery.