Michigan 86, Wayne State 43, Austin Hatch 1 Comment Count

Ace November 10th, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Michigan blew out Wayne State tonight in an exhibition that was never remotely competitive. The usual suspects, Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin, led the team in scoring with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Derrick Walton came back from an injury scare—just a cramp, it turned out—to tally 11, while freshmen Kam Chatman and DJ Wilson both turned in nine-point efforts. The team looks expectedly disjointed on offense despite their production; the defensive effort was quite encouraging for a young team's opening game.

That all mattered very little when Austin Hatch, survivor of two tragic plane crashes, subbed into the game with 1:40 left to a standing ovation. The Crisler Center crowd, subdued to that point, nearly burst in nervous anticipation every time Hatch touched the ball, aching for him to take a shot that didn't seem like it would come. Hatch was content to kill the clock in a blowout win. The crowd moaned when not he, but Ricky Doyle, finished a long possession with an easy layup; each time he had touched the ball, his teammates on the bench were literally jumping up and down encouraging him to shoot. He waited.

Then Hatch drew a foul at the top of the key with 12 seconds remaining and Michigan in the double bonus, and the crowd rose once again. The first free throw caught the back iron. The second did not. You're going to want to click that link.

To top it off, John Beilein called a timeout after Hatch sunk his free throw, then wrapped him in a bear hug as he came to the bench.

Words cannot describe the feeling of watching a man who's twice fallen from the sky get to fulfill at least some small part of his big dream. I'm sure Austin Hatch never envisioned his first point at Michigan being this big a deal, a capital-'M' Moment. It was, though, and to see his teammates, coaches, and fans react as they did—special doesn't cover it. The cheers and the hugs and the smiles tell just a fraction of the story, a joyous moment in an unfathomable journey.

Thank you, Austin, for sharing it with us.



November 10th, 2014 at 9:38 PM ^

on Hoke's face when George Cambell committed some million years ago. How time has changed.

Very happy for Austin - he is going to do great things out of the basketball court.


November 10th, 2014 at 9:44 PM ^

It's obvious how much Beilein loves that kid. I don't believe that medical redshirt is coming. I think he will redshirt this year, but I think he will be on scholarship his entire time here. He is an inspiration to everyone on that team. I'm proud he's on the team and I'm proud Beilein is our coach.


November 10th, 2014 at 9:47 PM ^

When Beilein yelled "Austin", everybody got excited and reached for their cameras. He got a standing ovation when he entered the game and everyone yelled for him to shoot each time he touched the ball. A big groan when he missed the first free throw and then cheers when he made the second.

It may have been my best moment ever in Crisler.

Wolverine Devotee

November 10th, 2014 at 9:58 PM ^

Just wait until he gets to do this in a regular season game when Michigan is blowing someone out.

Those will be his first official points. 

I was so hoping the whole team would rush onto the court and celebrate with Hatch.


November 10th, 2014 at 10:47 PM ^

I purchased one month of BTN plus so I could watch. Fun game and a wonderful moment for Hatch. BTN plus however, suuuuuuuuuuucks. The entire game played with these quarter second lags.


November 11th, 2014 at 2:55 AM ^

I'm curious, and I can't find much about it online. What is Austin's ceiling now? I know the 2nd crash left him in a medically induced coma, and he had to re-learn the basics. I haven't seen him make athletic movements on video so I can't figure out anything there.

I'm just hoping his story at Michigan ends with him being some sort of contributor. Is this plausible for him?


November 11th, 2014 at 9:14 AM ^

Objectively, he still has a long way to go to be a contributor. He has improved, but getting his mind and body to react quickly enough seem to be the biggest obstacle. You can tell he has to process his movements and think, rather than react, as he once was able to do. That said, his ceiling is the player he was, and better, before the accident. I wouldn't count the kid out.

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November 11th, 2014 at 9:17 AM ^

Honestly, I doubt he ends up a serious contributor on the court. Even in his own words, he's just not that good anymore. But I certainly think he can be a leader on the team, and a contributor off the court. But hey, you never know what's going to happen, and I'll certainly be cheering for his success.

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