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Incoming College Freshman Star Is the Tallest College Basketball Player Ever

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Oh, Canada!

As America’s cousins to the north continue to develop into an international basketball powerhouse — as Forbes notes, Team Canada’s Olympic basketball team is chock full of legit NBA talent, including the league MVP runner-up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and an All-Defense player in Lu Dort — more and more colleges will be looking to Canada to cultivate their next generation of talent.

When it comes to 18-year-old Olivier Rioux, a Montreal native according to CNN, it would be hard to miss him even if Team Canada were not the rising basketball force it was.

And that’s because it’s literally hard to miss Rioux, who comes in at an almost unfathomable 7-foot-9.

No, that’s not a typo.

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Seven. Foot. Nine.

Just look at this highlight reel of Rioux’s from 2023, when he was “only” 7-foot-6:

Do you like college basketball?

Rioux can basically dunk without jumping — an almost unheard of feat.

Even crazier: At just 18, Rioux could theoretically get taller. He’s still growing.

Assuming his reported 7-foot-9 height is legitimate (basketball is notorious for embellishing heights, though at Rioux’s size, embellishment seems unnecessary), Rioux is ready to break the previous record for the tallest college basketball player ever.

That honor was once held by former Florida Tech and Mountain State center, Paul Sturgess, who comes in at a still-eye-popping 7-foot-8.

Rioux, who will play college basketball in Gainesville, Florida, at the University of Florida, would eclipse that record by a full inch.

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Should the young Canadian giant choose to continue a basketball career in the NBA, he would set a record there too.

(The tallest basketball player in NBA history is Gheorghe Mureșan, who was a whopping 7-foot-7 while he suited up for the Washington Bullets/Wizards and the New Jersey Nets. A number of notable NBA centers — including Yao Ming, Manute Bol and Shawn Bradley — are listed at 7-foot-6.)

When Rioux spoke to Guinness World Records as part of accepting his “World’s Tallest Teenager” award (at just 16), he made it clear that he was largely at peace with his rather large frame.



“It feels great being the height I am. I love it,” Rioux told the record keepers. “I was always taller than the rest of my friends at school or teammates. This is what nature planned for me. I learned to be peaceful and happy about it.”

Rioux did admit, however, that door frames (which he would hit with his head occasionally) and finding clothes that fit weren’t very fun.

Rioux does come from a somewhat tall family, though he still towers over them. Rioux’s father is 6-foot-8, his brother 6-foot-9, and his mother 6-foot-2.

According to Rioux’s officialy Gators profile, his height skyrocketed year to year.

The precocious teenager “stood 6-foot-1 at age eight, 6-foot-11 by sixth grade and crossed the 7-foot mark the summer before entering seventh grade.”

Rioux has a small wait before he will get a chance to shine on his biggest stage yet.

The Gators will next play when the team hosts the University of Virginia Cavaliers on Dec. 4, as part of the annual “SEC-ACC Challenge.”


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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Birthplace
Hawaii
Education
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech




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