Hatch to Follow Cummard as BYU Recruit from Mesa

This junior plays a pivotal role in the sizable shadow of teammate and BYU signee <b>Lee Cummard</b> at Mesa High School team – and last night was no exception as their top-ranked Jackrabbits' team outlasted Brophy High 66-60 to advance to the Arizona 5A state championship game on Thursday.

Lee Cummard, the Arizona East Valley Player of the Year and the No. 1 rated shooting guard in the west by TheInsiders, gives way next year to fast-emerging Graham Hatch, a 6-4, 185-pound junior guard, who has BYU clearly at the top of his college choices next year.

Hatch is already turning heads with his stellar court skills and contributions. He played significant minutes last year as a sophomore and is starting this year as a junior. Hatch is averaging over 11 points and 4 rebounds a game. He's also shooting 88 percent from the free throw line and over 50 percent from 3-point range. On top of that, he's a leader on the defensive end, often drawing one of the opposing teams' toughest offensive player.

When asked by TotalBlueSports.com what he considered his greatest strength on the court, Hatch said, "Defense. I take pride in my defense. I like to rebound and I'm a pretty decent three point shooter. I need to develop a better mid-range game and that'll be my (off-season) focus."

Cummard commented on his teammate he may one day play with at BYU. "Graham is just an awesome player. He takes us to another level. Earlier in the season, he was hurt and our team was struggling a little. Since he's been back, we've really been tough." Cummard added that Hatch "is a great offensive rebounder. He just never gives up on the play. He plays unselfish. He's a great defender. Graham is just a great teammate."

Another aspect that Hatch brings to the court is hustle. He sat out the first seven games this year recovering from a chipped bone in his hand. It happened as he was diving for a ball in practice. Cummard said that's how he plays in practice or during a game. He plays full speed and he plays hard.

Hatch's "BYU connections" may be too hard for other college recruiters to overcome. His father played at BYU in the 60s and his older brother graduated from BYU recently. "I have a lot of interest in going to BYU. I went to the father and son's camp a few years ago. That was a lot of fun. And it would be fun to be teammates with Lee again."

Hatch confirmed he has definite LDS mission plans. He will most likely play first as a freshman before leaving for his voluntary two-year mission service. Hatch currently has a 3.8 GPA and will have no problem becoming an academic qualifier.

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