He may not be the best prospect in the Class of 2014, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive player than 6-foot-2 shooting guard Zach Hodskins from Milton, GA.
A mid-major recruit that’s reportedly getting looks from the likes of UAB and Birmingham Southern, Hodskins just picked up an offer to be a preferred walk-on at Florida, according to Yahoo’s Prep Rally. A preferred walk-on doesn’t receive a scholarship, but he doesn’t have to try out to make the team; he’d be guaranteed a spot on the roster.
What makes that so impressive is that Hodskins is anything but a typical recruit.
Hodskins was born with one hand.
A birth defect left him with a left arm that ends just below his elbow.
And, if he wants to, he can play on a team consistently competing for SEC titles and Final Fours. That’s incredible, but it’s also not simply a charity case. Hodskins can hoop. He’s a knock down jump-shooter that’s mastered a couple of nasty dribble moves despite lacking the capability to cross over:
It truly is an incredible, inspirational story.
What’s more is that Hodskins, who hasn’t even started his senior year in high school, is mature and aware enough to go on speaking engagements with the Make A Swish foundation. Last week, he travelled to Ohio to talk to kids and share his story.
“I know that people who don’t know me sleep on me when I walk on the court,” he told USA Today in December. “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.”
Believe it or not, he won’t actually be the first one-armed player in Division I. Kevin Laue, a 6-foot-10 center who also was without his left arm below the elbow, played three seasons at Manhattan, most recently in 2011-2012.