Florida Lands 7-foot-9 Canadian, Set to Become Tallest Player in NCAA History

It’s not often college basketball recruits break records before they start logging stats for their respective university. However, an NCAA record will be broken when Florida’s newest hoops recruit steps on the floor in a game. According to the team’s official website, Florida men’s basketball commit Olivier Rioux has grown to 7 feet 9 inches tall. This height extends his own Guinness World Record as the tallest teenager in the world.

Canadian Gators commit Olivier Rioux’s height has officially been listed on the team’s website.

SEVEN. FOOT. NINE. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/Y6AqU4FZY0

— theScore (@theScore) June 19, 2024

The 18-year-old from Montreal, Quebec, recently graduated high school from the IMG Academy, where he was listed as 7 foot 7 inches. Rioux has committed to the University of Florida. At 7 feet 9 inches, Rioux is set to become the tallest college basketball player in history.

Rioux first gained widespread attention a few years ago when Guinness World Records listed him as the tallest living male teenager in 2022. His remarkable height and skill set have drawn comparisons to fellow Canadian Zach Edey, a former standout at Purdue who stands at 7 feet 4 inches tall and is predicted to be a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA draft. Rioux aims to impact Florida significantly, leveraging his unique physical attributes and continuing the tradition of notable Canadian players in college basketball.

Scouting Olivier Rioux’s Ability

According to 247sports.com recruiting rankings, Olivier Rioux is listed as a three-star prospect, ranked 305th nationally and 56th among centers. In 2023, 247sports.com basketball analyst Travis Branham wrote a scouting report on Rioux, describing his defensive ability to impact a game.

“Olivier Rioux is a 7-foot-6 center that takes up immense space on the floor but isn’t the most fleet of foot. In short minutes, Rioux can come into a game to clog the paint, shield opponents away from the rim, and be a serviceable rebounder. He does have pretty good hands and touch on the offensive side of the ball but will need to continue developing his coordination, especially in quick reaction circumstances”, wrote Branham.

18-year-old Florida commit Olivier Rioux is now listed at 7’9” 👀

He was 7’5” when we filmed him 2 years ago.

7’6” last year (this video).

7’7” earlier this year.

pic.twitter.com/Y4jsbq35wb

— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 19, 2024

While detailed high school statistics for Rioux are not readily available, the University of Florida team website notes his performance in international competitions. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.5 rebounds during the 2013 U18 FIBA AmeriCup, where Canada secured a bronze medal. In that tournament, he scored 10 points against Venezuela and grabbed nine rebounds against Puerto Rico. Additionally, Rioux averaged 8.3 points and 10.3 rebounds over six games at the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Championship.

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Despite his impressive height and potential, Rioux is not expected to play a significant role for the Gators in his first season in Gainsville. The team returns experienced big men Alex Condon and Thomas Haugh. It has added transfer players Rueben Chinyelu from Washington State and Sam Alexis from Chattanooga, which will likely limit Rioux’s immediate impact. However, his unique physical attributes and international experience position him as a player to watch in the future.

The History of Staggering Height in College and Pro Hoops

Rioux is set to surpass British player Paul Sturgess, who currently holds the record for being the tallest player in American collegiate basketball history. During his college career from 2007 to 2011, Sturgess played for Florida Tech and Mountain State and measured an impressive 7 feet 8 inches tall. Despite his remarkable height, Sturgess did not go on to play in the NBA. He did, however, log a season in the NBA G-League, a developmental and feeder league for the NBA. Sturgess also joined the famous Harlem Globetrotters for a short stint.

If Rioux does reach the NBA, he will become the tallest player in the league’s history, surpassing the records set by Gheorghe Mureșan and Manute Bol, who stood at 7 feet 7 inches. Mureșan, slightly taller by mere millimeters, holds the current record. Rioux’s journey to the NBA would be a personal triumph and a historic milestone in the sport.

Currently, the tallest active players in the NBA are Serbian Boban Marjanović of the Houston Rockets and Frenchman Victor Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs’ Rookie of the Year, both 7 feet 4 inches tall. Rioux’s entry into the league would bring a new level of height to the NBA, potentially changing the game’s dynamics.

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VICTOR WEMBANYAMA IS UNREAL.

pic.twitter.com/28NOFehuR8

— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 23, 2024

Rioux’s journey to professional basketball is still in its early stages. As he transitions from high school to college ball at Florida, he will have the opportunity to further develop his skills and physicality. Should he achieve his goal of joining the NBA, his impact on the game, given his extraordinary height, could be substantial.

 

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