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January 15, 2013

Hoops: U-M pledge Austin Hatch closer to return

Fort Wayne Canterbury shooting guard and Michigan pledge Austin Hatch (6-6, Rivals.com three-star) hasn't played basketball in nearly two years, but he's inching closer to his return. Hatch, recovering from a head injury from a plane crash that claimed the lives of his father and stepmother, is working out with his team and aiming to return this year.

Canterbury coach Scott Kreiger told IndianaSportsWeb.com Hatch had finally been cleared to do just about everything.

"Austin has been released to do everything in practice, short of 5-on-5, full-court play," Canterbury head coach Scott Kreiger said. "He can play 5-on-5 halfcourt, he can run structured full-court drills. That tells you how close he might be. He's come a long way from the accident to where he is now."

Hatch was initially a 2013 recruit before the Indiana High School Athletic Association granted him an extra year due to his injury. He was U-M's first pledge in the class, joining big man signee Mark Donnal of Whitehouse (Ohio) Anthony Wayne in committing on the first day offered.

Hatch spent four months in the hospital in Traverse City, Mich. when the plane his dad was piloting went down a week and a half later.

Michigan head coach John Beilein has said he'd honor Hatch's scholarship regardless of whether or not he could play again.

"The kid works so hard," Krieger said. "He has just an amazing attitude. He's an unbelievable story, but when you get to meet the kid and understand what he's all about and how he's put together, it's even more amazing.

"His goals are to play basketball at the University of Michigan and to become a doctor. Those are high goals to be sure, but no one is going to tell him he can't do it."


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