John Oliver, a slam dunk player at Marian Catholic High School

A Chicago area basketball player is one of the best players on his team despite a disability.
March 8, 2014 6:48:40 AM PST
A Chicago area basketball player is one of the best players on his team, even though he only has one hand.

If you want something badly enough you will figure out how to make it happen, at least that's what 17-year-old John Oliver did.

''I like to tell people not let other people tell you what you can't do if you believe that you can do it then you can do it,'' Oliver said.

John Oliver is a senior at Marian Catholic High School and has been playing basketball since he was a little kid and has played on his school's basketball team since his sophomore year of high school.

''I entered the starting lineup my sophomore year towards the end of the season, and I've been there since,'' Oliver said.

Oliver was born without a left hand.

''A club hand as some doctors reference it, I have a twin sister and doctor's said that she was leaning against me during my mom's pregnancy, so it didn't have enough time to fully develop,'' Oliver said.

Dribbling is a challenge for Oliver but he says he has improved over the years due to continued practice.

Coach Mike Taylor speaks highly of Oliver.

''John the person, and John the player, is the same thing, he's a spirited young man and just a hard worker, he's a joy to be around,'' Taylor said. ''He's very determined and explosive and usually defends the other team's best players,'' Taylor said.

Taylor said that many people don't even realize that Oliver's missing a hand when they watch the team practice.

Oliver's future includes basketball. He says that he has been looked at by a few schools.

''I want to go to a four-year college that will really set me up for the rest of my life, to be successful,'' Oliver said.

''We have 10 seniors on our team this year, which is a lot, I'm going to miss all of them John will always have a special place in my heart,'' Taylor said.

Oliver plans to major in Business Management.

For more information:
Marian Catholic High School


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