ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WANE) – He moved to the west coast last year, but Austin Hatch is back in the Midwest. A little more than three years after verbally committing to join the University of Michigan basketball team, Austin Hatch was wearing the maize and blue at Michigan’s Media Day.
NewsChannel 15’s Sports department was the only Fort Wayne television news station to make the trip to the university to talk to Hatch Thursday.
On June 15, 2011 Hatch was involved in a fatal plane crash. The crash took place in northern Michigan and killed Hatch’s father and step-mother. The crash happened ten days after he made a verbal commitment to play college basketball in Ann Arbor.
The crash was the second Hatch was involved in. Back in 2003 he was in a plane crash that claimed the life of his mother and two siblings.
“I’ve had, regarding my story, people ask me why I don’t write a book,” Hatch told NewsChannel 15. “I’m like, there has only been a few chapters written. How can I write a book after only a few chapters have happened? There’s still a lot more in the works right now. There’s a lot more to come in the future, and I’m excited to see how it all unfolds.”
Hatch reported to Ann Arbor in the summer, before the start of his freshman fall semester. He played sparingly in some exhibition games when the Wolverines traveled to Italy. Those games were part of the team’s nine-day trip in August.
“People say, what a great thing to have him on this basketball team,” John Beilein, the coach of Michigan’s basketball team, said. “No, the gift is from Austin Hatch to every one of us. When you watch him go through the drills, a lot of kids are encouraging him. He’s a tremendous blessing to this team to see what a young man can do.”
Hatch was seen practicing with the team after speaking with the media. The freshman was participating full-court dribbling and shooting drills.
“My progress, physically, has been good,” Hatch said. “I’ve made pretty significant progress since I’ve gotten here in June. I’m still getting Netter. I’m still a work in progress. I’m working to get my skill back. A lot of skills I lost as a result of my head injury from the accident. I’m just working hard every day, and doing everything in my power to make us a better team.”
Michigan’s season opener is November 10.