When Michigan’s next basketball recruiting class takes the court for the first time, Ohio State fans might have to second-guess their usual reaction because of one player with a hard-to-believe story.
Two plane crashes in the span of eight years. The first, in 2003, took the lives of his mother, brother and sister. The second, in 2011, killed his father and stepmother and left him in a medically induced coma for nearly two months.
Austin Hatch, who at the time was living in Fort Wayne, Ind., had committed to play basketball at the University of Michigan just 10 days earlier.
Three years later, Hatch is back in the news, only this time, it was for all the right reasons.
Now 19 and playing for Loyola High School of Los Angeles, Hatch returned to the basketball court last Wednesday and sank the first shot he attempted in a comeback story that would make anyone come close to tears.
As if that was not enough, John Beilein, coach of the Michigan Wolverines, has said he will honor the scholarship that Hatch earned before the plane crash.
What a class act.
During a time where winning is everything, and every scholarship matters, Beilein is honoring a commitment made to a player who deserves to put on a jersey every single night.
Too often in today’s day and age, the sports world is overrun by individuals who are in the news for solely negative reasons instead of those who deserve recognition.
It’s a shame that Hatch has had to deal with a great amount of adversity at such a young age, but I know one thing is certain: he has handled it better than I ever would have.
Call it a miracle if you will, but at the end of the day, Hatch has displayed perseverance that gives a whole new meaning to the word resilience.
Ultimately, when Hatch steps onto the floor next season for the University of Michigan, I know I’ll be watching, cheering for him and Beilein to succeed, regardless of who they are playing.
I hope you all will too.