TAVARES, Fla. (WTSP) – In the little Lake County town of Tavares, Florida resides the tallest high school basketball player in the country.
Sixteen-year old Elhadji Tacko Fall is anything but a uniform student at Liberty Christian Preparatory School. The 7’5″ junior strolls the halls a yard above his fellow schoolmates.
The iPad he totes from classroom to classroom, looks like an iPhone in his nearly foot long hands. Affectionately known at school as “Taco,” his fellow students have to look up to smile hello, while looking out for his size 22 shoe.
A native of Senegal, Fall came to the United States to learn the game of basketball, while trying to take advantage of his gifted traits.
“I haven’t been playing basketball that long,” said Fall. “When I first got here it was very fast, now it is just a game.”
Fall stands 7’5″ tall, 4 inches taller than Shaquille O’Neal.
He’s been embraced by the Lions at Liberty Christian Prep in Central Florida, living with another family as a part of an international host program. “Taco” has mastered the art of ducking through doors. His arm span is longer than the height of a door.
He is a star student with nearly a 4.0 grade point average, excelling at chemistry and math. He also speaks four languages.
“I could do better if I really applied myself,” said Fall. “The academics are much more difficult in Senegal.”
But difficulty is a situation, Fall is familiar with during his time in his native country. His goal, is a familiar one in the U.S.
“I hopefully will be able to make it one day playing basketball and earn enough money to take care of my mother and brother to have a stable environment,” Fall said.
Fall is still trying to stabilize his own situation on the court, just a year-and-a-half in to learning the game.
“I’m much better than where I started and I’m hearing from a lot of division one colleges,” Fall said.
While the goal is to join the ranks of Yao Ming and Manute Bol as seven foot immigrants to capture NBA glory, “Taco” admits he’d be perfectly happy as a biochemist too.
Already taller than any player in the league, the sky appears to be the limit for this young man, who can nearly touch the clouds.