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Uploaded on Jul 18, 2010
Paul Sturgess is only 22 years old but he is the tallest player in college basketball. This 7'8" giant hails from Loughborough, England. As of 2010 he plays for the Mountain State West VA University basketball team. He wears size 21 shoes and can touch the rim of the basketball hoop when on his tiptoes.
According to the Vancouver Sun "Sturgess was just 5 feet 6 as a 14-year-old and, like most youngsters in England, played soccer. But he went on an amazing growth spurt in high school and when he graduated, he was 7-2. Sturgess reached 7-5 1/2 when he arrived in the United States three years ago and believes he's topped out now.
Sturgess' father is 6-9 and was a cricket player in England, and his mother is 5-9. The family was assured his height was natural and nothing was wrong with his pituitary gland, and he began playing basketball seriously.
"When I was 15, 16, I got picked for the (British) national team, and I realized I could actually use my size to my advantage," Sturgess said, "so I started working hard, and I'm at a good school now, and just waiting for my chance to improve myself."
Sturgess began his college career at Florida Tech and after an unhappy year there, moved on to Brevard Community College in Florida. He had some offers last summer to play professionally in Europe but chose to get his college degree in the United States.
"It would make my mom proud of me to get my degree," he said. "I went to Brevard with the hope of going to NCAA Division I, but I didn't have enough credits, so I chose the best NAIA school."
Mountain State coach Bob Bolen said Sturgess' time will come. "He's come a long way," Bolen said. "He just happens to be playing behind a tremendous player in Nick Aldridge. I'm real happy with Paul's development. He has great hands, a nice stroke."
Sturgess is an inch taller than 7-7 Kenny George, who was the tallest college player when he was at North Carolina-Asheville in 2008. And if he fulfills his goal of reaching the NBA in two years, Sturgess would surpass 7-7 Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan as the tallest to ever play in the league.
"I've got to get stronger and work on the fundamentals," said Sturgess, "but the NBA is definitely the ultimate goal." Joe C. Meriweather, the former Kansas City Kings forward, watched Sturgess from courtside and was impressed. "He's a crowd-pleaser," said Meriweather, the Park University women's coach. "I was surprised how quickly he could run the floor. He seemed to work hard. I looked at him and said, 'Wow, he makes me look small.'"
And Meriweather stands 6-11. "Compared to him, I'm short," Meriweather joked. Being 7-8 has its advantages and disadvantages, Sturgess said.
"The best part is the advantage I have in basketball," he said. "But I love getting the attention ... I'm used to everybody looking at me, taking pictures of me. A lot of people know me and like to be around me.
"The worst is showering, having to walk through doors . . . driving a car is pretty difficult." And what about finding a comfortable bed on the road? "I don't make a big deal out of it," he said. "I just sleep diagonally in a double bed. That's fine with me."