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Preps Plus

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Hatch picks Michigan

Austin Hatch didn’t wasted time in deciding his future.

On the first day NCAA coaches can call recruits in the 2013 class, the Canterbury junior spoke with Michigan head coach John Beilein, got a scholarship offer and committed to the Wolverines.

All on Wednesday.

“I talked with (assistant coach) John Meyer for about a half an hour, and he told me to expect a call from Coach Beilein around 2 p.m.,” Hatch said. “The call came around 2 p.m., and we talked about my future, and he offered a full-ride scholarship, and I accepted it.

“It was a very special moment for me. I kind of knew the offer was coming by the way they were talking. I had made the decision in my mind, so I committed. There was no reason to wait. There’s nothing I don’t like about their program, and I couldn’t turn it down.”

The 6-foot-6 guard/forward averaged 23.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last year for the Cavaliers, who won the school’s first sectional championship.

It came down to Michigan or Notre Dame for Hatch, with Indiana and Purdue in the picture as well.

“This is his dream,” Canterbury boys coach Dan Kline said. “I had a feeling this was going to happen two or three weeks ago when I talked with the coaches at Michigan. They didn’t come right out and say it, but they told me he was a top priority in the state of Indiana. They kept dropping hints.”

That dream became a reality for Hatch.

“He started thinking about it in elementary school, and it’s neat to see it get to this point,” Hatch’s father, Dr. Steve Hatch, said.

Austin Hatch said the focus can now shift back to the Cavaliers, who spent some time atop the Class A rankings last year, and a quest for a state championship.

“I had no doubts about (Michigan’s) program,” Hatch said. “So this lifts some burden off my shoulders. The focus now is on getting better, and it’s nice to not have to worry about (recruiting).”

It marks another Fort Wayne boys player headed to a Big Ten program.

South Side senior Rapheal Davis and Northrop junior Bryson Scott have already committed to Purdue, while New Haven junior V.J. Beachem is also getting interest from Big Ten schools.

Already at Big Ten programs are Deshaun Thomas (Bishop Luers) at Ohio State and Russell Byrd (Blackhawk Christian) at Michigan State.

gjones@jg.net

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.

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