By now you probably heard about Zach Hodskins, the one-handed basketball star who recently committed to the University of Florida. While this is an incredible story of perseverance, the young player can end up being so much more.
If you still need to catch up, the Georgia native was born without the lower half of his left arm. That did not stop him from earning a spot on the roster of a major Division I school. He announced his commitment to the Gators on his own Twitter account:
According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, Hodskins had received plenty of attention from teams at the Division II and III levels and could likely have seen plenty of action at those schools. However, he had dreams of the big time and chose a school that has gone to the Elite Eight in each of the last three seasons.
While the talented player will not get a scholarship as a preferred walk-on, he still proves that anyone can overcome obstacles to reach their dream. If someone with one hand can make a major college sports roster, no one else has an excuse.
However, Hodskins' impact will be felt for longer than this news cycle. According to Jeff Goodman at ESPN, the guard chose his school for a reason. He explained on SportsCenter:
At Florida, I'm going to have every opportunity to get on the floor and play. The situation was different at Kentucky.
I'm coming on as a preferred walk-on, but I'll be treated like every other player. If I work hard, Coach Donovan told me I'll have a chance to play.
Based on the hard work and determination he has shown to this point, there is no reason to doubt that he will continue to fight until he sees legitimate minutes for the Gators.
Of course, it is also important to note that the kid can play some basketball. The 6'4" player has an excellent jump shot and has developed impressive handles for his situation.
He also displays all the tools you want to see from a point guard, from passing ability to the willingness to drive into traffic and finish at the rim.
While things will be tougher in the SEC, he is not exactly playing for some small school in the middle of nowhere. Milton High School has won the Georgia state championship twice in the last four years, with a number of players going on to quality college careers.
This past season, Evan Nolte (Virginia) and Shaq Johnson (Auburn) each played significant minutes as freshmen, although Johnson was recently dismissed from his team.
Still, these players made the jump to high-major teams, and Hodskins can do the same despite his limitations.
Finally, Florida will have an incredibly young squad this season after losing its top three scorers from a year ago. Highly touted freshman Kasey Hill is also likely to leave for the NBA after one year in college.
This leaves plenty of playing time available for those who can prove themselves. Hodskins is someone who can do that and get on the floor when the opportunity presents itself.
While Hodskins is disabled, he is not a sideshow to sell tickets. He is a legitimate basketball talent and someone who can turn some heads at the next level.
All he needed was a chance, and he will get that for Billy Donovan at the University of Florida.
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