GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) - Savannah Scruggs, 12, begins her day early in the morning on the basketball court. While most of her peers are squeezing in some final minutes of sleep before school, Scruggs works on her game with her private coach Jevonte Holmes.
Holmes, who's also the head coach at East High School, has trained a long list of NBA stars like Dennis Smith Jr. and Donovan Mitchell, so he knows talent when he sees it.
“She’s definitely advanced for her age,” Jevonte said.
That’s remarkable because Savannah isn’t like her fellow Germantown Middle classmates.
“I kept hearing the nurses say, ‘abnormal. Abnormality.’ I didn’t know what that meant,” said Savannah’s mom Tiara Freeman. “I just knew something was wrong because they were yelling abnormal.”
Savannah was born with only one hand – her right.
“I always knew my hand was different, but I never thought about it,” Savannah said. “I just kind of went with it.”
Savannah’s uncle gave her a basketball when she was seven. Her mom eventually put her in camps, and Savannah took off from there.
“I wanted to keep playing it because it was fun, and I just knew I could go far with it, run with it, and be good at it,” Savannah said.
"She doesn’t look at it as a complication,” Jevonte said. “The way she plays. Her energy. You see it in the game her energy is crazy.”
Jevonte first met Savannah at a local camp. He said her work ethic and raw abilities drew him to her, and that he didn’t even notice she was missing a hand.
“Obviously I train different pros,” Jevonte said. “When they come to a workout it’s full energy. They’re paying attention to detail. They’re trying to perfect every drill. She has that all. She has the energy. She’s trying to perfect every drill, and she comes attacking with a worker’s mentality.”
Going pro is a dream of Savannah’s. She looks to Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaqueem Griffin for motivation. Griffin became the first one-handed football player drafted into the NFL last spring.
“She doesn’t have a lot of examples like her,” Tiara said. “That was her biggest thing when she was younger, ‘nobody looks like me.’ So for him to be drafted, he looks like her, similar story, I was ecstatic.”
“That kind of motivated me to do anything,” Savannah said. “You can’t hold back. You have to go for it.”
Jevonte calls Savannah one of the best basketball players in the state, and she’s only a middle schooler.
Despite people staring and at times pointing, Savannah's confidence is untouched.
She’s just a normal kid who’s really good at basketball.