Zach Hodskins is a 16-year-old Georgia high school junior and a pretty good basketball player. He shoots over 60 percent from three-point range, and his shooting ability is helping him draw college interest. What makes his story so special is that he does it all despite being born with just one hand.
Hodskins was the subject of a recent feature by USA Today’s Jason Jordan, who says that the youngster averages 12 points per game for Milton High School in Alpharetta, Ga. In a recent game, Hodskins went 7-for-10 on threes.
Hodskins has played on top-level AAU teams, and he says he’s received interest from UAB to play college ball.
Though one would think that having one hand would serve as a disadvantage on the court, Hodskins says it might be why he has such a good shot.
Hodskins comes from an athletic family. His father played college baseball, and his older sister played basketball in high school. He has played sports since a young age and always found a way to excel despite only having one hand. In baseball, Hodskins played first base and hit left-handed, using his right arm to generate bat speed. He also began pitching once he started throwing hard. He played soccer when he was younger, surfed, and he even won his age group in the decathlon.
He also has a fantastic attitude about his arm.
“Everyone wanted to know how I lost my arm, which is nothing new,” Hodskins told USA Today. “Now if you think about it, that’s funny because what they don’t know is, I never had it. So I got a serious face and I told them that it got bitten off by a shark. The look on their faces was priceless. I like that story; makes me sound tougher.”
“He wants to be the best on that court,” said his dad, Bob Hodskins.
When Zach was younger, his father remembers having to bring him in and bandage his fingers on his right hand because “I kid you not … his fingertips would all be bleeding” from practicing so much.
“He’d work so hard at dribbling and shooting, and that’s not something he was born with. He’s learned to overcome anything on the basketball court,” his dad said. “If you watch him play a full game in AAU, when they trap and press, he doesn’t flinch – it doesn’t bother him at all.”
Hodskins, like many others who aren’t letting disabilities stop them from excelling in athletics, wants to inspire others.
“God has truly blessed me with the ability to inspire… And that will always be my goal life,” he said on his Twitter account this week.
But, Hodskins' true basketball goal is to earn everyone’s respect through his game.
“I know that people who don’t know me sleep on me when I walk on the court. They don’t think I can play or they don’t know what to think, but it’s when I hit those first few shots or when I go by them is when they wake up. That’s when they start playing me hard. That’s what I love. I know I’ve just earned their respect. That’s all I want.”
Watching some of Hodskins’ highlight videos, you can see that he’s not solely a shooter. He utilizes a behind-the-back dribble to crossover his opponents, and he’s able to whip passes with incredible speed and accuracy.
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