Scott: Basketball players practice constantly to be at the top of their game, shooting basket after basket and trying to build speed and stamina. But there are some things that you just can’t control, and one young player has it – a lot of it. And Maggie Rulli takes a look.
Maggie: Elhadji Fall, or Tacko, as he is known to his friends, makes dunking look easy. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he is 7’ 5”.
Tacko is officially the tallest high school basketball player in the country. His high-fives aren’t low-fives. His hands, a foot long. Tacko’s wingspan, 8 feet. His shoes are nearly twice the average size – a size 22 – the same size as Shaquille O’Neal. And Tacko is taller than anyone currently in the NBA. And he is still growing.
Elhadji “Tacko” Fall: We went to a doctor and he said that I might add a couple more inches in a couple of months.
Maggie: Basketball seems like a natural fit. But Tacko, a high school junior, is a native of Dakar, Senegal. And he only started playing the game six months before he came to the U.S. in 2012.
Tacko: The first game I played here, I couldn’t play.
Maggie: He has since been embraced by the Lions at Liberty Christian Prep in Central Florida, living with another family as part of an international host program.
Pastor Greg Watts: He was bouncing from school to school and needed some stability, and we brought him here not to play basketball, but just give him an opportunity to have a stable life.
Maggie: It looks like he may have found it even outside the gym. In the classroom, even though no desk is big enough, that doesn’t hold him back. Tacko is a star student with nearly a 4.0 grade point average, excelling in chemistry and math. He also speaks four languages.
As far as his future, Tacko wants to keep playing basketball and eventually attend college in the U.S.
Tacko: I just want to take care of my mom and my brother, have a stable environment, and basketball is a good way to do it.
Maggie: And if basketball happens to fall through.
Tacko: I want to be a biochemist.
Maggie: Either way, for Tacko, the sky is the limit!
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.