After starting 44 games in his first two years at UC San Diego, a broken foot forced junior guard Andrew Hatch to watch the entire 2006-07 season from the sidelines. The 6-foot-2 Chino Hills native, who averaged 8.4 points per game and won CCAA Freshman of the Year honors in 2006, is now back full speed but coming off the bench for first-year Head Coach Chris Carlson. “Andrew’s a hard worker with great versatility,” says Carlson. “He can fill multiple positions on both offense and defense. Obviously, he could start for us but his willingness to accept and flourish in this new role will play a big part in helping us be successful.” With the Tritons’ opening conference weekend on tap, Hatch provided an update on himself and the team.
Q—Have you ever had to sit out an entire season before?
HATCH—Yes, my sophomore year in high school and the weird part is that I broke the same bone in the opposite foot. Sitting out then was just as hard as sitting out last year. I felt helpless.
Q—What was the most difficult part for you?
HATCH—Just basically the helpless feeling—being on crutches for seven weeks, not being able to get around and having to depend on others. Also sitting on the bench and watching games where I know I could have helped.
Q—Is there anything about he down time that made you a better player coming back?
HATCH—I guess sitting out that much I saw everything from a coach’s perspective and, in that regard, I know what they are talking and screaming about on the sideline. Hopefully, noticing this will improve my on court leadership abilities.
Q—During the pre-season and the first two games, you’ve been coming off the bench. Is that more difficult than starting? Why?
HATCH—It’s not anymore difficult coming off the bench than it is starting. However, coming off the bench allows me to recognize what the opponent is doing offensively and defensively. It also allows me to calm down, catch my breath and re-think my game assignments.
Q—How would you describe the transition from the coaching of Bill Carr to Chris Carlson?
HATCH— I would describe it as a smooth transition. Coach Carlson kept Assistant Coach (Eric) Olen on his staff, so our team has had that same support through the transition. Coach Carlson has also done a great job communicating with the team to insure that the transition happened as smoothly as possible. Coach Carr’s offensive principles are not that different from Carlson’s however, we do have more freedom this year. Defensively, things haven’t changed. We still want to bring as much intensity to the game as we can so that we are the aggressors.
Q—What do you like most about Coach Carlson’s program so far?
HATCH—His overall communication with the players has to be the thing that is most significant so far His overall communication with the players has to be the thing I like most so far. I like that you can approach him, whether it’s at practice or by cell phone. He is truly a players’ coach in that regard.
. I like that you can approach him, whether it’s at practice or by cell phone. He is truly a players’ coach in that regard.
Q—How would you handicap the 2007-08 CCAA race? Where does UCSD fit in?
HATCH—I think it is very hard to predict what will happen this year. There are some very good teams in the CCAA. I think five teams in our league have beaten Division programs so far this year (including exhibitions).
I think if we play to our abilities and are the aggressive and smartest team on the court every night we will see the results that we want. Furthermore, I believe that this squad more than any other previous team has much more experience playing together, regardless off it being Coach Carr’s basketball system or Coach Carlson’s basketball system. We know each other and are confident that each player brings something positive to the team.
Q—What would your scouting report say about this year’s Triton backcourt?
HATCH—I would say our guards are very versatile. I’d also say that every player in our backcourt has the potential to put the ball in the basket. But overall, I think the biggest thing is that we are experienced and play smart on both ends of the court.
Q—What do you consider the strongest facet of your game?
HATCH—Considering I haven’t really played much in over year, I would say my defensive intensity and getting our team into its offense.
Q—Has there been one game in your career that stands out more than the others?
HATCH—Freshmen year was so long ago but the biggest game that stands out to me is when Mark Lewkowitz hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Cal State Dominguez Hills. I believe I had a strong offensive game that night and after the game Sigma Chi Fraternity threw our team a party to celebrate.
Q—Looking back, has UCSD been a good fit for Andrew Hatch?
HATCH—UCSD has given me the tools to be successful both on and off the court and hopefully I can take those tools on with me and become successful in the next phase of my life.
Q—Is there a particular NBA team, player or players you enjoy watching?
HATCH—I’ve grown up in Southern California; I’m a huge LA Lakers fan. Kobe (Bryant) is my favorite player and regardless of the all negative attention people associate with him, I’m a fan through and through.
Q—What is your favorite sport other than basketball?
HATCH—College Football has grown on me, particularly since I have some friends who are now playing at some Pac-10 schools.
Q—Your mother and father are regulars at UCSD home and road games. How important has that support system been?
HATCH—It has been a very important. It’s one of the reasons I chose to attend UC San Diego—because of its proximity to Chino Hills and the fact that my parents could attend most of my games.
Q—What do you enjoy doing with your time outside of basketball?
HATCH—I enjoying relaxing at home. Those who know me know I’m a homebody, that I love movies and I like being at the house enjoying down time.
Q—When do you anticipate graduating and what post-graduate plans do you have?
HATCH—I will be graduating in Spring of 2008 and plan on moving up to Northern California and working at a consulting firm in San Francisco.
I’m looking for a new experience in Northern California. I’ve lived in Southern California for most of my life so I want to try that big city living atmosphere in San Francisco.