(CBS) — Marian Catholic’s John Oliver has so much heart, energy and talent, you don’t think he’s missing anything.
Marian Catholic‘s head basketball coach Mike Taylor says those are three things you can’t teach.
But if you look closely, you will see he doesn’t have a left hand. There is nothing beyond his wrist but the start of his palm.
“Usually, I don’t get a reaction until late, later on the game if not after because you really don’t notice it at first. The faces are pretty funny,” the senior forward says, smiling.
“The thing with John is, you walk into a gym and you don’t really even notice it at first because he doesn’t let him bother him. Really it’s his heart that you just fall in love with because he’s just wants to play so bad,” said Taylor.
The 6’3” senior was born with a club left hand.
He doesn’t like wearing a prosthesis because it bothers him too much. So he has figured out basketball mechanics on his own.
“I’ve been playing basketball for a long time so I just learned to adjust. Recently, I have really gotten better going to my left side more,” said Oliver.
“John has figured out a way to cradle that ball when it comes to his left hand. He just adapts, adapts and adapts,” said Taylor.
Since he was three years old, his family got him involved in basketball and baseball. They never treated him like he had a disability — a big reason why he doesn’t think that way.
“I never had that mindset that I need to be given this privilege just because I have a certain situation. I just look at it as I have to work ten times harder than everybody else,” Oliver says.
John cracked the starting lineup his sophomore year and has started every game his senior season. He’s now known as the team’s shutdown defensive player but his game transcends numbers.
“A little kid in a recent game came up to me after a game and told me what an inspiration I am. I want to show others that you can’t let things get you down or hold you back from achieving a certain goal, or just being the person you want to be,” Oliver says.
Oliver is getting consideration from Division II and Division III schools to play basketball for them. He is still mulling his options for next year.