Wichita State Shockers

Shockers' organized Hatch finds time for everything

WSU's Graham Hatch, left, pressures Evansville's Colt Ryan, right, in the second half Wednesday (Feb. 17, 2010) at Koch Arena.
WSU's Graham Hatch, left, pressures Evansville's Colt Ryan, right, in the second half Wednesday (Feb. 17, 2010) at Koch Arena. The Wichita Eagle

PEORIA, Ill. —The routines that make Wichita State's Graham Hatch one of the nation's best basketball student-athletes:

(And that's student-athlete with an emphasis on student, as proven Monday when he was named a third-team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America).

* Keep every test, every assignment, every appointment recorded in his Dash smart phone.

"When I really learned how to organize and prioritize is on my (Mormon) mission," he said. "That's one of the many great skills I picked up on — how to set goals, how to prioritize what you need to get done every day. I saw a lot of success in my life on my mission by doing that."

* Set aside an hour each night to spend with his wife, Jessica. Make time each week for date night, usually Knolla's pizza and a take-home movie.

"She needs that quality time," he said. "I'm a very independent person — I don' t need a lot of support from others. My wife, on the other hand... being away from family... I know I could probably do better, but I'm trying my best to get that time in with her."

* Talk after wins and not-so-much after losses.

"At first I wasn't as understanding as I probably should have been," Jessica said. "I expected him to come home and be himself. We learned over time, though, that it's so important to him and he puts so much effort into it that a loss is a big deal. I give him his space."

* Basketball occupies almost every afternoon and early evening. Study and meet with tutors in the mornings. Study more in the evenings after practice.

"With Organic Chemistry, it requires a lot of time," Hatch said. "I'm taking Spanish II, which is not too difficult, but requires time to do the homework they give you and memorize."

* Make 10 consecutive shots from seven spots twice as a warmup before a game or for extra shooting practice.

"I started off doing five in a row," he said. "Then I've been able to gradually get up to 10 shots in a row."

With that plan, Hatch maintains his three jobs — a chemistry major with a 3.7 grade-point average, husband of 19 months and starting forward on a 22-7 Shocker team that plays Bradley tonight.

"He's gone from morning to night," Jessica Hatch said. "He never takes a day off. Anytime he has any time off, I'll see him with his flash cards, studying."

Hatch, a junior, is the Shockers' self-made man. Recruited by former coach Mark Turgeon, he came to WSU in 2007 after spending two years on mission. He needed to get faster and stronger and applied himself in weights and agility training like no other Shocker. His approach to school is the same — he doesn't consider himself a major brain, so he works diligently.

Hatch, 23, wants to become a dentist, like his father and his brother. He likes the ideas of being his own boss, working with his hands and making good money.

"You want to put the stamp of can't-miss success story on somebody, you start with him," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "I point to him as an example, on how hard he plays, how mature he is and how much he cares. You've got to have guys like that."

Hatch considers his academic victories the product of grinding away at obstacles. Fun isn't part of the picture.

"It's work, and that kind of work is real hard for me," he said. "What makes it all worth it, and what I remind myself of every day when I'm doing that work, is the joy and satisfaction I get at succeeding. In basketball, I don't enjoy running my guts out every day. The success of winning, the success of getting better drives me to keep going. That's the same thing with school."