Zach Hankins, center, is surrounded by relatives including those from Michigan, and Virginia, and Kidron, Wooster and Smithville in Ohio, who came to cheer him on during a Ferris State game several years ago.
Zach Hankins plays for the Birmingham Squadron.
Ask Leora Gerber, of Kidron, about her great nephew – the tall one.
She’ll tell you all about him and his rise to fame on the basketball court, and she might even email you some Facebook links to his games.
He’s not a household name, and kids aren’t wearing his jersey everywhere – yet – but it can’t hurt for Zach Hankins to dream big. His dreams at least match his height. Close to 7 feet tall, Hankins can’t be missed on the basketball court.
He’s never lived in the Dalton-Kidron area, but he has relatives who grew up here and live here, and they are staunch supporters of his success as he played college basketball and now plays for an NBA G League. Ultimately, his dream is to play for the NBA. Until then, the 25-year-old center can’t say enough good things about his time on the Birmingham Squadron (15 -14). His team plays next March 31 against the Stockton Kings. Visit https://birmingham.gleague.nba.com/ for more information.
Runs in the family
A love of basketball runs in Hankins’ family. His mother, Dawn, played basketball with her cousin, Karen Geiser, of Kidron, when they attended Goshen College, according to Leora Gerber.
Hankins’ grandfather, Jim Gerber, brother of Leora’s husband, Dave, was born and raised on the 200-year-old Gerber family farm in Kidron. Jim graduated from Dalton High School in 1957. He was married in 1963 and moved to Michigan. His daughter Dawn married Scott Hankins. Zach grew up in northern Michigan and like many of his Ohio relatives he says he grew up “very much a farm kid” with horses and chickens and loving the outdoors. He graduated from Charlevoix High School in Michigan and he played for the Bulldogs – not Dalton but the Ferris State Bulldogs. Their conference games extended to Ashland.
“So many of our family from Ohio would attend those games,” Dawn Hankins wrote in an email. She said how “fantastic it has been to have our Gerber family in Ohio attend games and be so interested and supportive. It has allowed a great connection opportunity.”
Hankins has numerous NCAA Div. II awards and honors and played for Ferris State when his team claimed the school’s first national championship in the 2018 NCAA Division II Tournament.
He calls this a highlight of his career so far.