Years ago I played pickup basketball at the University of Florida. There was a guy who played on Court 1 of the Southwest Recreation Center, which was a space basically reserved for the experienced hoopers that could dribble like Allen Iverson and even dunk like Shaq. His name was Zach Hodskins.
I had no clue who this kid was, but he was incredible to watch. Using just one arm, he could shoot the daylights out of the ball and put defenders on skates. It's no wonder that Hodskins made the Florida Gators men's basketball team as a walk-on during the 2014-15 season or that he was a fan favorite when he took the court at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville.
Despite being born without his left arm, Hodskins defied odds and played for legendary head coach Billy Donovan.
Zack Hodskins: UF's One-Armed Player
Hodskins first made headlines when the 6-foot-4 guard out of Alpharetta, Ga., committed to the University of Florida out of Milton High School as a preferred walk-on.
"It's always been my dream growing up," Hodskins told ESPN's Jeff Goodman back in 2013. "I never expected it to be like this, but the hard work has paid off. I'm ecstatic I'm going to be a Florida Gator."
And when he took the floor against Jacksonville University on December 22, 2015, he scored the first career points of his UF career. Hodskins put a nasty spin move on a defender before laying the ball in, and the packed home crowd absolutely erupted.
Hodskin was a fan favorite whenever he entered the game. He played in 10 games throughout two seasons, logging 14 minutes. Though he took 10 shots and made just one, Hodskins showed college basketball fans that he didn't let a birth defect stop him from chasing his NCAA Division I dreams.
????????????????Zack Hodskins!!??? pic.twitter.com/hc6ExIAAw2
— underworldnet? (@underworldnet) December 29, 2015
Hodskins Played Professionally Overseas
Hodskins time at Florida was brief, but he wasn't finished hooping in Gainesville.
According to his LinkedIn, the inspirational basketball player played professionally in South Berlin, Germany. He played for the BBC White Devils Cottbus, who listed him on its 2019-20 roster.
While I couldn't find any statistics, I found some pictures of Hodskins on the team's Instagram page.
"Gameday !!! Our Devils have to play away at BG 2000 today. Today the team supports our newcomer from the States for the first time. Read the special story for yourself. #CottbusBasketball" the post read after being translated from German to English.
"Zach is a lot of fun. He is highly motivated and wants to show what he can do. His game is different, but he is already showing how effective in training," the team's coach said in an article that has been translated.
Hodskins' LinkedIn also says he works as a golf professional in South Carolina. Whatever his future is -- whether in basketball overseas or in golf in the United States -- I'm sure he'll won't ever let anything get in his way.
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