Michigan commit Austin Hatch plays in first game since plane crash

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

It's the most uplifting news -- basketball-wise -- regarding Austin Hatch yet. The Michigan commit made his way onto the court Wednesday night for his Loyola High (Calif.) team. And as you can see in the video above, he drained a 3. It was his first shot of the game.

This is the best sports story you'll see today. Maybe all week. Or in January.

After Hatch hit the triple -- and listen to the video above, as teammates yelp for hope that he makes the shot -- his friends plowed onto the court, causing a technical foul to be could. Can you say worth it?

Undefeated, to boot. Pretty great.

Hatch, a Michigan commit, took the next big step in putting his life together after losing the rest of his family in a plane crash two and a half years ago. As a 16-year-old, Hatch was involved in a crash with his father, who was piloting the small plane, and stepmother. Both perished in the crashed, but Hatch -- who was in another plane crash as a child, and lost his mother and siblings in that incident -- lived, and was in a coma for some time afterward.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday night of Hatch's first in-game basketball appearance since the horrible incident in June of 2011.

"It was the best technical foul I've ever been a part of," Loyola Coach Jamal Adams said.
Loyola won the Mission League opener over host Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, 87-59, but the game will be forever remembered for the emotional moment that took place with Hatch. Adams and his players and fans had tears after witnessing what they had seen.
"He hit a three and our bench erupted," Adams said. "It was unbelievable what that kid has gone through and how hard he's worked. That kid has taught me you can come back from anything, that nothing is impossible. It was a spiritual moment."

In November the 19-year-old Hatch held a press conference to announce his intentions to one play again, and to attend Michigan and be part of its basketball program. It was then when he signed his letter of intent to be a Wolverine. He also explained why he decided to move out West; it was to be with his uncle, one of the closest relatives/family members he has left.

Hatch's story has gone from harrowing to heroic to how's-he-doing-this. Wednesday night proved the near-impossible: He made his way back onto the court for the first time. And we know it won't be the last.

 
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