By Paula Maloney, She's Game Sports
Bethany Hamilton. Devandra Jhejheria. Zach Hodskins. All three share a common denominator in their life. Each are outstanding athletes who 'make the impossible seem possible' in their respective fields of athletic endeavor. Hamilton as a world class surfer, Jhejheria as a world class javelin thrower, and Hodskins, who is defying all odds by being selected as a a preferred walk on for the University of Florida Men's basketball team.
All three compete with one arm.
Who is Zach Hodskins? The pride of Alpharetta, Georgia is being hailed as the " best one armed basketball player in the world." He caught the attention of Billy Donavon and John Calipari , Division I coaches at the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky respectively. Hodskins came off a sensational summer playing on the AAU circuit and caught the attention of the elite universities early on.
Alot of people counted Hodskins out on the court, yet he has proved the naysayers wrong. He has been selected as a preferred walk on for the Division I powerhouse University of Florida.
Hodskins can drain a three pointer, is an accurate passer and, quite simply, has got game. His work ethic is unparalled and his mantra is that " a disability will never hold him back."
"When I am out on the court I forget that my arm is not there." Passion and love for the sport helps me overcome all obstacles."
Zach has been turning heads since the tender age of six as he showcased his skills early on. This 6'4" 200 pound unassuming enigma played several sports but basketball caught his attention and a basketball became his best friend.
How has he been received on the court as a player missing his left arm below his elbow? " I have felt that a lot of players went easy on me, at first, and then slowly they could see that I could play." It would be fair to say that the word " pity" is not in his repertoire.
Zach, a native of Lexington, Kentucky hails J.J.Redick, the all time leading scorer for Duke University as someone he admires. Redick went on to play pro basketball for the Orlando Magic and currently is with the Los Angeles Clippers after a storied career playing under Coach Mike Kryzewski and the two recently spoke.
Redick publicly stated that " He did not expect to be a star but rather a team player."His humbleness yet ferocity on the court made him a player to aspire to in the eyes of Zach.
Athletes such as Hodskins need not be discounted due to their visually physical limitations. Hard work, determination and discipline are common traits seen in elite athletes and Zach is ready to showcase those hard earned results on the hardwood at the O'Connell Center.
"At Florida, I am going to have every opportunity to go on the floor and play." " If I work hard, Coach Donovan told me I will have a chance to play."
Zack Hodskins, you are a shooting star. I look forward to seeing your name on the Gator Nation and for several three pointers to be sunk from behind.
No doubt, this Gator will be leaving his mark on the court.
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