GREENVILLE, Illinois — The Greenville Panthers are known for having the most potent offense in the nation. And now the D-III school will also be known for having possibly the most unique talent in the region.
Zach Nabers, a native of Hahira, Georgia, just signed on to join the Panthers in the fall as their newest guard. He can shoot the lights out. He can cross-over like Hardaway. And he can do it with one hand.
“I’ve literally seen him grow from ‘5-foot-nothing Zach,’ to ‘6-3-basketball stud Zach,'" said Sam Kuhnert. Kuhnert is a former Greenville University pitcher who has one hand. He started a nation-wide sports camp and foundation called Nubability, which allows limb-different athletes a chance to hone their athletic skills with limb-different coaches. It's where Kuhnert met Zach and where he made the baller a camp coach as a young teen.
"And then next thing you know we’re seeing videos on his mom’s Facebook of him doing these outrageous drills and ballhandling and everything he could to get better," said Kuhnert."
It was amazing to see because Zach was doing it without his right hand, which he lost in a boating accident at age 11.
To Zach, re-learning basketball was just another challenge.
“Opening, like, a pill bottle, or like, tying your shoes. It took a long time to learn how to tie my shoes. So I think adjusting to that wasn’t that hard, it was just, getting better at it," Zach told local NBC affiliate WCTV.
Kuhnert showed his friend, Greenville basketball head coach, George Barber, Zach's tape. Barber wanted him on his team immediately.
“After evaluating him, and looking at stats, and hearing his story, hearing his narrative, I said, ‘I think this could be a good fit,'" said Barber.
“If you have the character and the drive to overcome and use your other ability to make it work, then you’re thinking, ‘this guy has got the heart of a lion, this guy has got what I want,'" he said.
Zach is 18-years-old and is transferring from Valdosta State University, where he was a guard but didn't see much playing time. That action will change in the Panthers' fast-paced offense.
“He certainly deserves the same opportunity as everybody else," said Barber. "You look, you appear, on film, your stats tell me you will be good enough to play at this level. So, let’s go for it.”
Visit Nubability.org to learn more about their camps and opportunities.
Here's what other people are reading:
Here's what other people are watching: