I, like many of the readers here, was touched by the story of everything surrounding Austin Hatch. His recruitment, plane crash, then working himself back into shape, and joining the team. And finally, giving up his roster spot and taking a medical scholarship at Michigan. There was a post in October from a student with the username UMClassof2018 highlighting John Beilein talking to the Maize Rage which mentioned Hatch.
The pertinent section:
He [Beilein] also talked about Austin Hatch and how important he is to the team. He said he works out with the team 2-3 times a week to keep his body in shape, and his role is now doing some things that players/coaches don't have as much time to do (i.e. visits to Mott). He also said he views Austin as another son of his, which was pretty cool.
I would love to hear any updates on Austin . . . how school is going, if he is still working out with the team, and in what capacity he helps out the team. He always seemed like such a class act, who dealt with a horrible tragedy as graciously as possible. This disaster also highlighted John Beilein and his character.
Last night John Beilein made an appearance at the Maize Rage meeting, along with Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. While there, he spoke to us and answered some questions that revealed some pretty interesting tidbits that may not have been talked about much yet. Some of the highlights of what he said:
---DJ Wilson is up 35 pounds. Not sure if that was from when he go here or just over the summer, but it's impressive either way.
---Irvin should return from his back surgery soon, and when he does, it will be the first time their "Core Four" of Irvin, Walton, Caris, and Spike will have all been healthy at the same time since Walton got hurt against Villanova.
---In terms of rotations, he doesn't really expect to expand past playing nine guys even though they have more depth this year. He likes eight man rotations, but because of the depth, will add a ninth spot.
---He said he likes to play guys like Irvin and Walton 30-35 minutes a game to keep them in their rhythm (he only mentioned them as they were sitting right there; I assume that applies to Caris as well, with Spike not far behind). Other than that, he expects the other guys to just fill in minutes where they are available. Based on this, my conjecture for the rotation would be Walton, Irvin, Caris, Spike, Doyle, Dawkins, DJ, Donnal, and one of MAAR or Chatman.
---One guy who's missing? Moritz Wagner. Beilein said he expects him to be really good "one day". Right now he said he's a bit awkward and gets banged around a bunch because he had never lifted weights before in Germany. However, he's up to 228 pounds (up from 210 or 215 when he got to AA, I can't remember which one), and Beilein expects him to be up around 245 soon. Didn't say, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a redshirt coming for Wagner.
---Another guy who's missing: Duncan Robinson. I would expect him to work his way into the rotation at some point, but now Beilein sounded as if that wouldn't happen right away. He said Duncan's shooting numbers in practice compare to Nik Stauskas', but that he is a little tenative and "we're trying to get him to stop asking for permission to shoot." Sounds like once he gains some confidence, he'll be key off the bench.
---He also talked about Austin Hatch and how important he is to the team. He said he works out with the team 2-3 times a week to keep his body in shape, and his role is now doing some things that players/coaches don't have as much time to do (i.e. visits to Mott). He also said he views Austin as another son of his, which was pretty cool.
---Last thing, has nothing to do with the players themselves, but Beilein said he wants to totally revamp player introductions and do something different. He hates the intro videos and how it takes everyone's attention away from the court and up to the video board. This year, he wants to do something involving the students making noise and being pumped up to introduce players, but we're not sure what that would be, and then having a different way to actually call out the players' names.
Great Austin Hatch story from mgoblue.com: LINK
"He's like a father figure to me," Hatch said of Beilein. "I've lost that, and he's a lot like my father in terms of the quality man he is and how solid he is in character, goals and integrity. He's a family man who genuinely cares about people. So, it's really been a blessing for me to be involved in a program that's led by a man like him."
"Not only is he a father figure to me and all my brothers. And by 'my brothers,' I'm referring to my teammates. He does everything the right way -- he doesn't ever sacrifice honesty or integrity. The man is truly one of a kind." That comment made Hatch think of his own father, a doctor who always made time for him and loved family deeply, and a question he was asked about his father in an ESPN feature that aired Feb. 8.
"Chris Connelly asked me, 'Were you ever angry at your father?' I said, 'Never, never. My father was the man of the millennium.' In terms of how genuinely caring and solid as Coach Beilein is, Coach Beilein's right there with him. I've been very blessed to have such great men in my life."
Is somebody cutting onions in here?EDIT: Austin's name now in the title, because LongLiveBo asked so nicely.
Austin Hatch will receive the United States Basketball Writers Association's Most Courageous Award at their annual luncheon during the Final Four in Indianapolis.
May not be the way he dreamed of reaching the Final Four, but it may mean even more now.
Today must be Autsin Hatch day at ESPN (I''m not opposed to making this a national holiday).
At 6PM on ESPNU, the full version of the SC Featured story on Hatch will be aired. But if you want a Hatch fix right now, I highly suggest you read Dana O'Neil's piece on Hatch.
I love this kid's story and am so proud he represents our university the way he does. A true inspiration to us all.